It becomes very easy when living with a case for a while to think you understand everything. That especially can certainly happen in complex litigation where you and your colleagues maybe have spent hundreds and hundreds or hours thinking about and talking about your case. Indeed, our firm has one set of business disputes that has been going on for more than a decade, and we once had a class action take 12 years to get resolved.
But don’t fall into the trap. It becomes easy to create an echo chamber with your team and not realize what the people who matter — the deciders in your case — will really think about your case. For this reason, we use mock juries or moot arbitration proceedings in our case as early as we can to keep challenging our view of the case.
And that is the point: you need to advocate your case to those who will decide it. If you are going to try a case in a given county, make sure you pick a mock jury that looks like your actual jury. With all respect to those that run mock jury services, it’s amazing how this first step — choosing the right mock deciders — can be ignored. If you’re going to try the case to a judge, try to get a few mock judges who “look like” the judge who will preside over the case. And the same goes for an arbitration.
We may know our cases better than the judge, jury, or arbitrators ever will (indeed, we better). But they are the deciders: meet them where they are and ensure you understand their perspective so you can win for your clients.
John Balestriere is an entrepreneurial trial lawyer who founded his firm after working as a prosecutor and litigator at a small firm. He is a partner at trial and investigations law firm Balestriere Fariello in New York, where he and his colleagues represent domestic and international clients in litigation, arbitration, appeals, and investigations. You can reach him by email at email@example.com.