What’s it take to be successful in the courtroom?
Dallas, TX trial attorney Daniel Charest gives strong advice on how to achieve success in the courtroom when taking on a case.
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To be successful in the courtroom there are lots of answers to that question to be sure. You see lawyers of all stripes that have different techniques. I think in mu mind it’s, well, the first thing is to be honest to yourself and to know who you are and have your voice and speak with your voice. But that’s really a step towards what I think is the key and the key is to developing a rapport with the decision makers, with the people that you’re dealing with in the courtroom whether it be the people in the jury box or the judge on the bench, hopefully, both.
And so that they know that when you speak, you’re speaking honestly. That you’re speaking to them directly you’re not hiding anything, you’re not trying to talk above them, talk past them, talk around them, you’re talking to them. And to bring that level of candor and intelligence and most importantly, understanding of the facts of the case. You’d be shocked to see, you would be shocked to see, I think, how many people try and wing it or don’t know the facts. Or you have some sort of situation where a younger lawyer did all the work and then the senior lawyer shows up for the hearing or some trial specialist within a big firm floats around and shows up for the trial having done none of the work in the discovery.
And that disconnect shows. But if you’re the one that’s doing the work and you understand the case from the beginning, you’re the one that grew this thing up and you’re now here to present it to the people. If you’re the person that knows the most about the case you will speak about the case from a position of authority and intelligence. And to be able to explain it because you’ve had to deal with all those issues. You’ve thought it through and then when you go to describe it to the decision maker, the jury, or the judge, you have that comprehensive and deep understanding of the facts.
And to me, it’s that, it’s about that rapport. So when I go into a courtroom when we start a case I see the judges and assume everyone’s sort of on par. Over time, by successfully showing to the court I’m going to be reasonable, I’m only going to fight the fights that matter, I’m not going to pick fights that are nonsense. The judge learns that they can rely on you to be correct. And where that really comes into play is when the issues get closer and it’s more of a well, it could go either way you having built that rapport with the court, with the jury, with the decision maker gets you over the hump I’ve seen a lot of times.
So for me, it’s about honest presentation and mastery of the facts.