PRETRIAL PRACTICE

August 10, 2012

While Pretrial Advocacy is one component of the advocacy experience, and quite frankly an important one, you should always consider where pretrial advocacy fits into the entire litigation process – using it to complement and support the representation of your client. In a certain sense this is a journey to discover how the system of civil adjudication works, to develop pretrial advocacy skills, and to combine your knowledge of the law with your persuasive skills – making you a superior advocate for your client. My ultimate goal is to empower you to put your clients in the best possible position to reach their litigation goals. Regardless of your level of expertise, our time together should help you develop practical and insightful analysis into the dynamics of pretrial advocacy.
We will combine this practical outlook with analysis that offers an appreciation of, and discussion about, the broader issues that matter to advocates everywhere. These broader issues arise under the topics of ethics, professionalism and the major policies implicated by pretrial adjudication in the United States. These broader perspectives help light the way and uncover the pitfalls awaiting unwary litigation travelers. Pretrial Advocacy is one component of the advocacy experience. Superior Advocates will consider where pretrial advocacy fits into the adjudicative process – using it to complement and support the representation of the client.

To appreciate pretrial advocacy, you should reflect upon where the pretrial process fits into civil adjudication. Every civil matter begins with a client having a legal problem that requires the expertise and guidance of an advocate. These legal problems are as diverse as the permutations of human behavior. They spring forth as issues based in large part upon human nature, and the human story underneath the surface of the legal issue is often the most persuasive issue that a jury will have interest in. While this type of persuasive issue is often not controlling during the pretrial litigation, advocates would be well advised to remain sensitive to the issue behind the issue. If and when the case becomes a trial, those human issues become an integral part of case analysis and the development of legal theories, factual theories and moral themes.

I call this approach to taking care of clients the Problem, the Prize, and the Process. In my next post will talk about how to use that structure to get started.