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Trial preparation for attorneys is very similar to studying for final exams; the outcome of a trial depends a lot on how well the preparation was handled. It’s probably rare to think about hiring an investigator to assist in trial preparation, but there are many instances where their assistance can be invaluable.
Attorneys who work in small offices or alone are faced with the question of how to handle all the details of trial preparation. Think about the cases where plaintiffs are fighting large corporations with numerous attorneys and paralegals at their beck and call. Many lawyers first turn to paralegals to help with trial preparation but they should also think about hiring an investigator to assist in this process. Wrongful deaths, medical malpractice, and civil frauds, for example, all have similarities with criminal cases. Trained investigators have unique insight into presentation of evidence in these types of cases. An investigator’s organization ability alone is worth this investment.
Attorneys often don’t fully review a case with their client until the deposition phase or the trial is eminent. This isn’t necessarily wrong or right, it us just is the case in the busy world we live in today. It is far better to have a skilled investigator present during these clients interviews because the small details are often overlooked and come into focus only when the pressure is on both the attorney and client. A trained third party can be invaluable when preparing for these pivotal moments in any case.
Investigators can also be a big help when it comes to jury selection. They are trained observers and can note the subtle, and not-so-subtle, signs that may mean a preemptory challenge would be a wise choice for certain members of the jury pool. As attorneys, of course, you only have limited opportunity to deselect potential jurors, so a team approach can reap huge rewards. Further, investigators can help in the voir dire process to track responses and help formulate follow up questions.
If yours is a court trial (that is, to be heard by judge and not a jury) there is very little leeway given to unprepared attorneys. The court has no need to concern itself with appearances for the sake of the jury so these cases tend to go quickly. This is all the more reason to obtain early assistance from investigative personnel as most judges don’t suffer the unorganized attorney very well.
Sound trial preparation is essential and no expense should be spared in this situation. Too many times, the focus is on the trial date, but it is about what happens up to that date that makes or breaks your case. Adding an additional team member for pre-trial, and even trial phase, can be that extra effort that your case lacks. Investigators can fill a variety of needs when it comes to trial preparation, yet too often this valuable addition to the process is overlooked. It is hard not to justify the expense of an investigator given all the other costs associated with litigation.