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  2. 2.  Creating a Trial Notebook Preparation Your Witnesses Effective Use of Evidence Succeeding at Trial 2
  3. 3. Why a Trial Notebook?Which looks better toyou?Fumbling forinformation or findingit quickly? 3
  4. 4. Hard BoundNotebookOne Notebook3- holeIndex pages 4
  5. 5.  Every lawyer has their own method. Meet with the trial team and decide what goes into the notebook. It is not meant to “house” everything. 5
  6. 6.  Use three ring loose leaf lined papers. Notes can be placed at initial team conference. Notes can be added during prepping of witnesses. At the whim of the attorney in the middle of the night. During the trial. 6
  7. 7.  Place all motions in limine from plaintiff (or draft if you represent the plaintiff) in this section. Make sure each motion has a number, not just a title. 7
  8. 8.  Place each defendant’s motions in limine in this section. Put numbers on the bottom of their motions if not provided by counsel. If more than one defendant, each named defendant gets their own section. 8
  9. 9.  Place copies of case law that may be used during motions in limine hearing. Place all copies of case law that may be used during jury instruction conference. Place all copies of case law that may be needed during the course of the trial. 9
  10. 10. 10
  11. 11.  Place all jury instructions provided by the plaintiff in this section. If you represent the plaintiff, start a draft of jury instructions while preparing the Complaint. Make sure Instructions show IPI number and whether the instruction has been modified. Need a number to the instruction, i.e. plaintiff instruction No. 1 Add a section for admitted, denied, or reserved so you can check the box during the conference. 11
  12. 12.  Add a section for each named defendant and place their instructions in this section. If they are not numbered, do so, it makes it easier during the conference to identify them. 12
  13. 13. WitnessesFront sectionshould contain alist of allwitnesses (names,address, phonenumbers).Trial subpoenaswith green cardsattached andplaced inalphabetical order 13
  14. 14.  Place all outlines in this section. Put them in alphabetical order. Have a few copies of each outline for all the trial team members. 14
  15. 15. ExhibitsFront of thissection shouldcontain an indexof all trialexhibitsIf case is smallenough, placecopies of theactual exhibitsin this section. 15
  16. 16. Complaints IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE EIGHTEENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUITThis section is for a   DUPAGE COUNTY, ILLINOIS copy of all   JANE DOE, Plaintiff, ) )Complaints.  vs.  ) Case No. )  DR. STRANGELOVE, M.D. ) JURY DEMANDED  and HIS CORPORATION, )  LTC, an Illinois Corporation,)Be certain to have  Defendants.  ) )stamped filed copies  only.   COMPLAINT AT LAW  NOW COMES the Plaintiff, JANE DOE, by and through her attorneys, BEST PLAINTIFFS LAWYERS IN TOWN, P.C., and for her Complaint against Defendants, DR. STRANGELOVE, M.D. and HIS CORPORATION, states as follows:Include all Amended   COUNT I JANE DOE vs. DR. STRANGELOVE, M.D.,: NEGLIGENCEComplaints.   1. At all times relevant to this cause of action, Defendant, DR. STRANGELOVE, M.D., was, and is a physician licensed in Illinois and practicing in the field of whatever medicine in the middle of nowhere, DuPage County, Illinois.May include 3rd Party  2. At all times relevant to this cause of action, Plaintiff, JANE DOE, was under the care and treatment of Defendant, DR. STRANGELOVE, M.D., for the purposes of receiving whatever medicine, care and treatment.Complaints and   3. At all times relevant to this cause of action, Defendant, DR. STRANGELOVE, M.D.,Cross-Complaints, or  held himself out, and otherwise informed the public and the Plaintiff that he possessed the place in their ownsection. 16
  17. 17.  All defendant answers to Complaints and their Affirmative Defenses, if any are placed in this section. If multiple defendants, may place in the order of caption, or in the alternative, make separate sections for each named defendant. Be certain to only place stamp-filed copies into the section. On index, be certain to include affirmative defense if one is pled at the end of the answer. 17
  18. 18. PlaintiffStart withanswers tointerrogatoriesThen anysupplementalanswers tointerrogatoriesFinally all versionsof 213 Answerswith most recentbeing last 18
  19. 19. DefendantsStart with answers tointerrogatoriesThen anysupplementalanswers tointerrogatoriesFinally all versions of213 Answers withmost recent beinglast 19
  20. 20.  Place plaintiff and defendants Rule 237 notices in separate sections in the notebook. Be certain to review the 237 notices for all documents and that required people will be available in court. Generally these conferences are held informally be the parties so that all information can be exchanged. 20
  21. 21. ElectronicNotebookBest suggestion is tohave the trial notebookin the same format asyour hard bound  Trialnotebook. NotebookHave back up thumb-drives with notebook.Have the actual hard-bound trial notebook inreserve.All kinds of softwareavailable, Exhibit A fori-pad users toSanctions, TrialDirector,I-BlazeSummation, etc. 21
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  23. 23.  How to begin? Go through all discovery answers, especially Rule 213 answers of all parties. When completing all abstracts of depositions, make sure no one mentioned in testimony that should be added to the list of witnesses. Go through medical records and other documents to be certain all have been identified. If additional witnesses are found, immediately update answers to Rule 213’s. Discuss with trial team and try and scale down the amount of witnesses, if necessary. 23
  24. 24. Preparing your Witness for a DepositionMeet with the attorney, be certainyou are aware of what the attorneyexpects from the witness.What documents, if any, would theyattorney like you to show thewitness?Never show a document to awitness unless it has been clearedwith an attorney.Arrange for a time and place tomeet.Meet the witness alone, in a quietplace (your office or their home).Go over discovery answers andstatements, if any.Go over all documents and if anychanges, let attorney knowimmediately.Remind them of attire.Remind them to be courteous.Emotions need to be in check. 24
  25. 25.  Make sure you understand all facets of the rule. Go over all the answers to Rule 213’s, and amendments. Check with the attorney for specifics before you meet with the witnesses 25
  26. 26. Lay Witnesses(f) 1Lay witnesses mayinclude:Your clientDamage WitnessesEye Witnesses 26
  27. 27.  Make sure they have reviewed their deposition or statements, if given. Go over all written discovery answers. Go over documents produced in discovery, if applicable. DO NOT hand them the witness outline or any written questions. Explain process of trial; direct, cross-examination and re- direct. Review all exhibits to be used by the witness, if any. Answers any questions they may have about the process. Take them to the Courthouse. Go over Courtroom etiquette. 27
  28. 28. IndependentExpert Witness(f) 2Independent ExpertWitnesses mayinclude:Police OfficersDoctors 28
  29. 29.  Be certain you are in a position to be able to prepare them for trial. If they are a treating doctor and your attorney represents the defendant, you may not speak to them. If your attorney represents the plaintiff, you may speak to a subsequent treating physician. Be certain that the subsequent treating physician is not being represented by their own counsel, if so contact their lawyer before setting up any meetings. For police officers, it is best to call the Chief of Police to get permission to speak with the officer. Make sure they have copies of their depositions, if taken. Be sure that they have reviewed all documents, this includes any answers to Rule 213. If using demonstrative evidence, get them familiar with them prior to trial. 29
  30. 30. Controlled ExpertWitness(f) 3“Controlledexpertwitnesses”includespersons suchas retainedexperts. 30
  31. 31.  Even though your expert may have testified in numerous court cases, the facts and circumstances of your case are unique. Make certain they are familiar with all the information they are relying on as a basis for their opinions. Make certain they have reviewed their deposition testimony. Also go over any opinions that they have previously produced. Go over any materials they plan on using, i.e. medical literature, books, charts, diagrams, and demonstrative exhibits and evidence. 31
  32. 32. Organizing Trial Witness InformationBe certain their testimonyoutline is in the trialnotebook.Get a box and placeaccordion folders markedwith each witness’ name,role, and phone number, andplace in alphabetical order.Within each separate witnessfolder, place manila folders.The manila folders contain:Answers to interrogatoriesMini deposition transcripts, ifavailable.CV’s if applicable.Copies of all exhibits to beused with the witness at trial.Copy of the witness outline. 32
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  34. 34. Choosing your Technological DirectionLots of choices:Pad of paperWhiteboardFoam BoardsELMO ProjectorPowerPoint or CorelSoftware TrialPresentations 34
  35. 35.  How to begin preparing the exhibit list? When abstracting the depositions go over all the exhibits used during the depositions and determine those documents you deem appropriate for trial. Go through all the production request responses, might find by-laws, etc. Think about medical records, x-rays, MRI’s, etc. Call your experts and see if they want to use some demonstrative evidence. How about a timeline, will that help the jury? Not all exhibits on the list may be actually used at the trial. Make several copies of the exhibits and place them in 3-ring binder and mark it “Exhibits”. Prepare an index of the Exhibits. Place number indexes in the exhibit book for easy retrieval. Each exhibit will need to be numbered before the trial. Prepare an exhibit notebook for the Judge. 35
  36. 36. Once the List isPreparedOnce the list has been finalizedand all the exhibits marked:Make several copies of the listso all the trial team membershave their own copy.Place a copy at the front of theExhibit Notebook, the book forthe Judge, and another one inthe Trial Notebook.The list itself can be used totrack those exhibits that havebeen admitted into evidenceand those that go back to thejury. 36
  37. 37.  Once the exhibit list has been prepared, place all the exhibits into the notebook, number them and place actual number dividers with the exhibits for easy location during trial. If exhibits are limited in number, place them into the Trial Notebook. For more exhibit intensive trials, place them in their own notebook. Be certain, wherever the exhibits are, that multiple copies of the exhibits are available, so that the attorney may present them to the judge and counsel before using them with a witness. 37
  38. 38. DemonstrativeEvidenceDemonstrative evidence isfor illustration andclarification.Some types of demonstrativeevidence are:ModelsMapsPhotographsVideosX-raysChartsMedical IllustrationsGraphsComputer AnimationsTimelinesPhysical Photo AlbumsAll of the above can be doneusing low or high technology. 38
  39. 39. Court Rules andPracticesEvery County has its ownlocal rules.Some Judges have rulesthat apply to their owncourtroom.Meet with the judge’sclerk, bailiff and secretaryand find out what thoserules will be before thetrial begins.Make certain the attorneyhas asked the judge if youcan sit at the trial table,this is only commoncourtesy.In Illinois, know Rule 213and how it applies to thewitnesses. 39
  40. 40. JuryInstructionsIllinois has its own set ofPattern Jury Instructions.These can be found in:TextbookCDOn-lineNotice the instructions aredivided by categories, i.e.general, damages, etc.The instructions will need tobe case specific so it willrequire changes, deletionsand additions be madepursuant to the instructionsthemselves, or case law.Some cases have no patterninstructions, so they need tobe prepared pursuant to thecase law. 40
  41. 41.  Once the jury instructions have been drafted, sit down with the attorney with the book, CD or on-line and get them done in final form. Be sure to place I.P.I. number and Plaintiff’s instruction No. ___. With the IPI number add: Admitted, Denied, or Reserved, so you know what happened to the instruction after the conference is completed. Make another set of the instructions without the number on them, so you are prepared at the instruction conference. Once you have received copies of opposing counsel’s proposed instructions, make sure they have numbers on them as well. Place copies of all proposed jury instructions into the Trial Notebook. 41
  42. 42.  Take charge of the questionnaires. Make Notes. Be certain to keep track of where the potential jurors are seated in the jury box. Observe. Keep track of pre-emptive strikes of all parties. Know who has been removed for cause. Discuss your thoughts with the attorney. 42
  43. 43. Assisting with JurySelectionYour job is to assistthe attorney inidentifying thosejurors whoseattitudes andprejudices will not behelpful to their client.What you need to do?Observe, note,discuss. 43
  44. 44. Tips for Working inthe CourtroomMeet with the judge’s staffbefore the trial and introduceyourself.Get a handle on the juryselection process in advanceof the trial.Know the rules, motions inlimine the Friday before thetrial begins?Be polite ,respectful andethical.Pay attention to the judge,jurors and the attorneys.Work out logistics with theattorney before the trial.Write notes to be given tothe attorney before witnessis dismissed.Never discuss case anywhereother than the office.Never speak with a juror. 44
  45. 45. Surviving the TrialTrials are extremelystressful.Take care of yourself.Make sure you get asmuch sleep as you can,when you can.Eat properly and drinkplenty of water.Keep your emotions incheck.Lashing out at supportstaff or others isunacceptable behavior.Think before you speakif you are tired.There can never be toomuch preparation. 45
  46. 46.  Thank you for allowing me to present this material to you. 46