If your matter goes to a trial, we undertake many tasks to prepare ourselves and our clients for trial. We will be in constant communication with our clients while we are preparing and this blog will outline the most common expectations we have of our clients.
Trial requires the most up-to-date and accurate evidence. It is our client’s responsibility to provide all of the information we request so we can be prepared well in advance of the trial. Updated financial information is particularly important to help the court determine matters of child support, spousal support, and family property division. The court usually sets deadlines to provide this information. It is important to respect these deadlines and clients help us to do so by providing all requested information to us well before the deadline so that we may organize, review, and share it with the court and the opposing party.
Your lawyer will be preparing and strategizing for trial from the moment you sign your retainer agreement, even though almost all files resolve without the necessity of trial. The most intense period of preparation takes place in the week or two before trial, when your trial lawyer will work solely on your file and nothing else. As part of this intense preparation period, the client will usually have at least two lengthy meetings with the trial lawyer. The meetings are important for three reasons. Firstly, our clients are prepared by learning the nuances and rules of court. This discussion allows our clients to be fully informed about court procedures and gives them confidence as they will know what to expect. Secondly, our clients will practice being a witness by answering practice questions. Finally, the preparation meetings with the client are part of the preparation for trial. It provides the lawyer with an opportunity to ask very specific and detailed questions about your matter at the very key period of time right before trial. Often when reviewing materials and preparing for trial, the lawyer will have new and additional questions as they work on how they will present your matter during the trial.
Preparing for a trial is a detailed and lengthy process but undertaking these steps (among many others!) help us ensure that we are in a good position to achieve the best trial outcome for our clients.