A Memorable Early Litigation Experience
Dallas, TX trial attorney Daniel Charest talks about a specific case he was a part of back when he had just begun law and what it meant for his career.
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When I think of my oil and gas career in terms of old cases that I’ve been involved in the one I think about most primarily is a case that I tried as a fairly young lawyer but in terms of the work I had been doing at the time, I felt pretty seasoned. And it was an oil and gas case out in Deridder, Louisiana, which if you don’t know where it is it’s along the western side of Louisiana kind of where Texas and Louisiana start to blend together although, still very much Louisiana if you ask anyone there.
Real small town. We had there two trial teams with representing massive oil and gas interest. It was easily the biggest case that courthouse had ever seen. And for me, professionally, it was the first case I handled as a partner. I’d just made partner, I think, during the case, actually, while the case was progressing at ______.
And so, it was the first case in trial that where I was, I wasn’t necessarily a first chair but I was the person, I was the, in my mind, I would call it the executive officer, the person kind of lining everything up, getting everything done, and having to be responsible for making sure we had a stack of witnesses ready to go the next day. That they were prepped. If you were doing it to actually be the prep.
The organizational aspect of the overall case in terms of what’s our strategy? How are we going to achieve it? What witnesses are? And to the mundane of how are we going to get fed today? Do we have enough paper clips? Do we have room for the paralegals to sit? What happens when this goes wrong and reacting to each step like that.
Meanwhile, being effectively the face of the case to the judge, it was a bench trial there so it was just us and the judge. But building, again, the rapport with the judge so that you can, you’re the one communicating and being the primary advocate for the case.
That was my first opportunity to do that and I will remember that for my whole career. I’m really proud of the result and the effort we put forward. But it was a really unique case that in my mind I think of it as my doctorate in oil and gas law, right. So where I put into effect a lot of things that I had learned sort of in the school of hard knocks being a lawyer involved in oil and gas cases.