Number 11 of 21 for 21 – In The Trenches

what is past prologue

Photo: Mike Peel,

Mobilizing the right support team for trial is more an art than a science and can often make or break the path to the courtroom at SIA. We had the opportunity recently to move “at the speed of trust” to support a dynamic trial team as they hit the “go-time” button.

Years of trial preparation, assistance and after-action practices came to practical and urgent use as we brought it all together in those crucial weeks leading to Voir Dire and Opening Statements in East Texas.

In ways that surpassed my own personal expectations, our core values ultimately saved the day. In fact, I realized in discussing with my friend David Berg, trial lawyer and author of THE TRIAL LAWYER WHAT IT TAKES TO WIN, that you really have to let those values reveal themselves – they can’t be hammered into heads or memorized with any expectation of adherence. Found or born in the trenches, they provide the “recipe” that each and every team member follows when it matters. Walking the talk happens at 1:45 a.m. when the team is packing up for a long nap planning to see each other in court later that morning. A member of the team says, “oh, can I get one more thing?” The only thing that can happen next is that laptops get unpacked quickly and fired up. The last-minute request gets fulfilled no matter how long it takes. And the long nap gets a little shorter. But the trial day is poised for success with the best battle plan. When the team walks in calmly later that morning, it does so with confidence and ease and laser focus.

Great working relationships and intimate knowledge of colleagues ensure that those moments in the trenches go one way and not the other. Going to verdict during a global pandemic might conjure images as viewed through a kaleidoscope, and in some cases that view would be accurate. But for our part, proceeding by core values of expertise, curiosity and empathy within the “extra mile” approach gave us all clarity and focus. Turns out the list of core values that makes us who we are provides a roadmap in an age where “true north” is difficult to find. The only certainty in this situation is a commitment to quality process that is a direct result of values in action.

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