This all-day conference will focus on sharpening the skills paralegals need to assist attorneys during trial preparation. Below are some tips to help you navigate preparing for trial.
Clear Communication is Crucial
Communicating with your attorneys before and during trial is absolutely essential. Meet with them regularly to discuss upcoming deadlines, projects and issues. Don’t wait for them to come to you. An efficient and organized paralegal is an invaluable resource of the issues in the case; the location of trial documents, pleadings, and exhibits; and the status of various trial-related projects.
The paralegal is often the contact between the attorney and client during trial. Ask your attorney how often to check in with the client regarding the details of the trial. Clients are usually anxious about the outcome and will likely call you for status updates. Remain patient with them during this process, as this could be a very difficult point in their lives.
Meet Your Deadlines
Nothing does more damage to a paralegal’s soul than missing a deadline. This is especially true at trial. Become a master of the Trial Calendar. Ask your office manager to obtain a legal calendaring program or online account. Many online services generate a list of deadlines based on the trial date, including local court deadlines. Not all offices have the luxury of such a service, in which case a thorough and in-depth review and knowledge of trial-related deadlines codified in the Code of Civil Procedure and Evidence Code are imperative. Develop a plan with your attorneys to avoid getting into a quagmire.
Once your trial deadlines are calendared, review your list of dates with a colleague. A second pair of eyes can help catch court deadlines and required tasks that you may have missed.
Keep a large calendar with upcoming trial deadlines clearly marked on your desk or in your office to keep you on top of the necessary tasks to complete leading up to trial. It will literally be staring you in the face.
Review Your Trial Organizational Systems
Well-organized trial documents and systems are vital components of your attorneys’ success during trial. If something were to happen and you couldn’t be there, would your attorneys be able to find documents, pleadings, and exhibits easily? Do your document management systems spark joy? If not, NOW is the time to review and replace any inefficient systems.
Remember: This Too Shall Pass
Leading up to trial, emotions and stress can run high in the office. There is a lot on the line for your client and your attorney. It is important to remember that everyone preparing for trial is feeling some sort of pressure. Don’t take it personally.
SAVE THE DATE:
Saturday, July 13, 2019.
Check www.sfbar.org for event details.