Excellence in the Courtroom
Athletes and soldiers achieve excellence through training. In sports, practice is crucial. In the military, battle drills and rehearsals are used to prepare for combat. Any endeavor in which excellence is expected, that requires constant training. This is no different for lawyers. While most states have continuing legal education requirements that mandate attorneys to participate in a minimal amount of training every year, that minimum is just the standard. Great lawyers, like great athletes strive to exceed standards.
While most attorneys meet their continuing legal education requirements by sitting in a classroom, the classroom rarely provides sufficient training on the fundamentals. The fundamentals for a criminal defense lawyer are actively using the rules of evidence and conducting cross examinations. While these fundamentals can be taught in the classroom, the lawyer does not develop the skills without hands-on practical application.
Trial preparation is intense and time-consuming. Whether the matter is a criminal or civil trial, the trial attorney must anticipate what the opposing lawyer will do.
At Berry Law, attorney training goes beyond meeting the minimum legal standards. (To get an idea of the extensive training we provide for our attorneys, view this schedule of upcoming in-house events.) While there certainly is value to passively sitting in seminars, we believe the most effective training for our attorneys is hands-on training. Sometimes this means having a mock trial prior to the actual jury trial. A mock trial is a great way for attorneys to assess the strength of their case with unbiased spectators to provide unfiltered feedback. The mock trial is also a great way for a trial attorney to hone his skills outside of the courtroom. Mock trials in front of non-attorneys can provide feedback that can help the lawyer better frame issues and make better tactical decisions. These mock trials should also be overseen by an attorney who can critique the lawyer’s use of the rules of evidence and witness examination. This type of training provides the lawyer with valuable information about what can be done better to persuade the jury, but also in developing the technical skills to get crucial information from witnesses who testify in court.