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KellyGram – Trial Work: Behind the Scenes

 

 

The legal profession has long been sensationalized in literature, television, and film, painting the public’s perception of trial work as riveting and fast-paced and trial lawyers as dramatic and unflappable—ready for anything the other side might throw at them. And while this perception is not necessarily inaccurate when it comes to trying cases, the majority of a litigator’s work consists of tedious and thorough investigation, planning, strategizing, and preparation. As Mike Kelly Law Group’s litigation team gears up for several trials set to move forward in 2019, I thought I’d share with you all a glimpse into the less glamorous—but no less grueling—work that makes up a normal day for a trial attorney.

Depending on the complexity of the issues at hand, the cumulative hours that our attorneys and paralegals put into preparing a single case for trial may amount to weeks, or even months, of work. Most of this time is spent conducting written discovery—a process through which parties exchange and gather evidence—as well as taking depositions, meeting and preparing with clients, consulting with expert witnesses, arguing pre-trial motions, and working through scheduling and evidentiary matters with the court in anticipation of trial. The trial itself is merely the tip of the iceberg in terms of a trial lawyer’s job.

However, because most legal dramas focus on the excitement of trial, many people do not understand the sheer amount of work lawyers put into a case before ever rising to give an opening statement. And although our attorneys prepare every case as though it will proceed before a jury, the reality is that, due to changes in South Carolina’s rules governing civil suits, cases now tend to settle more often than not, and trials have become somewhat of a rarity. Mastering trial techniques requires experience and practice, and the decline in trials has created a generation of “trial lawyers” who have only tried a couple of cases, if any at all. For this reason, if you have a case that may end up in the courtroom, do your homework to make sure you engage a real, honest-to-goodness trial lawyer who will go the distance to get the results you deserve.

Have a great weekend!

 

Mike Kelly

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