Number 11 of 20 for 20 – Practice Development
#virtualappearance #decisivetrialdesign #courtroomsavvy #presentandaccountedfor #podiumperfect #abaquitamtrialinstitute #FCA2020
One of the redeeming aspects of an otherwise demanding CLE mock trial prep and presentation is the luxury of discussing the facts (made up), the followup with both sides (team sport) and the fun (that trial is fun is supposed to be a secret).
A bunch of old (and new) friends came together last week to put on a mock case, “US ex rel. Kathleen Saunders v Affirm Living.” Michael E Clark and Joel Androphy delivered a challenging enough set of case facts for some spirited competition on the part of the attorneys who gave of their time in prep as counsel and also playing the part of key witnesses and experts. Hon. Gregg Costa, a U.S. Court of Appeals judge for the Fifth Circuit oversaw voir dire, mock jurors and expert witnesses. We have been here before, but never virtually, so that too added to the fun.
It was the kind of exercise that led to moments of “podium pressure,” those distinct performance points that most trial veterans crave.
Bedsores and the value of care caused enough of a conflict to dispute the total dollar amount of claims paid by the government for the care of elderly in the fictional facility. Prepping for and supporting attorney led voir dire led to moments of enlightenment. Observing the inquiry method and subsequent reasons to strike given by jury consultants Robert Hirschhorn and Jennifer Lapinsky was a rare treat. Diving into the decisions about how each side would display evidence of Stage III bedsores (if at all) was cause for real strategizing. Too much exposure to such gore can have the opposite effect intended, not enough would leave one wondering about the harm. Juxtaposition with marketing materials that make a place look all sunshine and smiles can be very powerful. The strategy conversations alone satisfied my need to help counsel look and sound present, persuasive, collected and winning. Most of all, rushing around and thriving in the “hot seat” virtual or not, juggling incoming requests reminded me of what we do best.
Arms wide open, we make all the adrenaline injected moments worthwhile. The ABA Virtual Qui Tam Trial Institute gave us a welcome opportunity to further hone our skills supporting attorneys doing the same thing themselves – trying to stay fresh while the legal world adjusts to a multitude of courthouse adaptations as varied as there are jurisdictions and areas of law.