The reduction in jury trials nationwide, coupled with the complexity and potential exposure of those cases that eventually are tried, has significantly diminished the opportunities for young lawyers ‘to get in the courtroom” and develop trial skills. This trend has resulted in fewer young lawyers receiving the necessary trial experience and skills during their professional development to represent clients confidently and successfully in cases that are tried before judge and jury.
Many firms simply send their young lawyers to a trial practice seminar on a one time basis. Occasionally local seminars offer information addressing limited trial practice areas in the form of lectures. Wise Carter feels that none of these approaches provides the training necessary for the development of essential courtroom trial skills.
In an effort to provide proactive training and trial skills development, Wise Carter has developed an intensive in-house trial practice program designed to prepare its young lawyers to do more than conduct discovery and argue motions, but to try cases in a courtroom before a judge and jury.
Wise Carter’s trial practice program was developed and is directed by one of its senior lawyers with over 35 years of trial experience in state and federal courts. The program is divided into individual sessions addressing motion oral argument, voir dire and jury selection, opening statements, direct and cross examination of lay witnesses, direct and cross examination of expert witnesses, and closing arguments. Each session topic consists of written materials in a trial practice notebook, a lecture given by two of the Firm’s experienced trial lawyers, and then a follow up “hands on/on your feet” session in which the lawyers actually conduct the trial aspect of that particular session. As lawyers work their way through the program, they are given an opportunity to voir dire a jury, present an opening statement, conduct direct and cross examinations of lay witnesses, conduct direct and cross examinations of expert witnesses and present a closing argument based on a hypothetical case. These sessions are regularly scheduled and conducted in a moot courtroom at Mississippi College School of Law using law students as witnesses and jurors to make the experience as realistic as possible.
The scope and intensity of Wise Carter’s trial practice program ensures that its lawyers will receive the training and necessary skills as they develop into competent and successful trial lawyers.
To learn more about our trial practice program, please contact:
John D. Price