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“As A Good Trial Attorney, You Always Must Have a Backup Plan”

Trials are never, ever easy. They rarely go as planned, and they require the most amazing dexterity of knowing when to hold tight to your positions, and when to completely drop Plan A and go another course mid-trial as evidence comes in. The best trial attorneys do all the above on a regular basis, and the key is to always have backup plans and be able to think on your feet no matter what happens so you can keep going and not give up.

I stood at the podium in front of my computer and looked out at the 400 or so people assembled to honor the 15th annual SFTLA Trial Lawyer of the Year nominees. Seconds earlier, the video presentation of the award nominees that Cogent Legal had produced—a 20-minute video I had spent many hours working on—stopped working and cut to a blue screen midway through its airing, with all the guests in attendance watching.

Though inwardly my pulse was racing, I calmly and with a smile on my face told the assembled audience: “As a good trial attorney, you always must have a backup plan.” That got a good laugh, and I quickly proceeded to get a backup of the video playing. The presentation continued and was well-received in spite of that glitch.

I’ll give more detail in a bit on the technical difficulties that led to me standing in the glow of the spotlight, but that moment really reminded me of why we honor great trial attorneys like all the nominees at the event last night. (more…)

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