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The Litigation Process – Part Four – Trial

On Behalf of | Jun 4, 2022 | Divorce

Sometimes, when negotiations break down or do not yield fruit, an attorney must roll up his sleeves and fight for the client in a courtroom setting. While the consequences of a trial can be risky, there can also be a payoff at the end of the day for the client who utilizes the skills and talents of a seasoned litigator as his or her attorney.

The trial process starts with immense preparation for the attorney. This involves pouring over records and other items of evidence, preparing opening and closing arguments, as well as giving thought to how to question and/or cross examine each witness. There may also be legal research involved as the attorney anticipates issues of law that are likely to present hurdles for the case at trial.

In the days and weeks prior to trial, the attorney should meet with the client to go over testimony and prepare the client for cross examination – which can often mean aggressive, accusatory questioning from the other side’s attorney. During trial, each side has an opportunity to put on their case. In essence, both parties will get a chance to tell their side of the story to a judge or jury. Each side can also call witnesses to testify under oath about their take on the matters in controversy. The testimony comes in the form of responses to questions posed by the attorneys. The witnesses will actually sit in a chair on the witness stand beside the judge and speak into a microphone so everyone can hear what they have to say.

Typically, the party who calls the witness will ask questions first on direct examination, which is aimed at drawing out the facts about which the witness has knowledge. Then, the witness will become subject to cross examination from the opposing counsel. Cross examination is a skill that attorneys use to test the truthfulness of the opposing witness and often involves confronting the witness with facts and/or documents that are contrary to the witness’ testimony.

After the close of all evidence, the attorneys from both sides will have an opportunity to address the judge or jury directly. This is known as a closing argument. While a closing argument is not considered evidence, it can be artfully crafted to persuade the trier of fact to see and evaluate things in the way the attorney suggests. There is no magic formula for winning every trial, but hard work, knowledge of the facts and intense preparation are good places to start. The client should seek out a hard-working, well-prepared, seasoned litigator anytime a trial looms in their future. For more information on the litigation process, or to hire a seasoned litigator, contact Kevin “Buck” Sralla, a San Antonio Family Lawyer at San Antonio Family Law, 210-600-9565.
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