I’m a member of the California Employment Lawyers Association.  Recently, a local Orange County group gathered recently for dinner and discussion.

Basic Trial Tactics

The following are some thoughts derived from a presentation of an employment law trial lawyer on a recent success:

  1. File defamation cases. Malice is inherent in a retaliation case.
  2. Don’t be afraid to lose.
  3. Tell your client’s heroic story.
  4. Persevere in finding your witnesses.
  5. Tell the jury: Don’t compromise your verdict: damages and liability are separate.
  6. You must win the “verdict form” battle. Instructions and findings matter.
  7. Go for punitives. They are leverage.

The Judicial Perspective on Trial

And some bonus information in talking with a retired judge before the program:

  1. Juries care about jury instructions, sometimes getting overfocused on a few words. It’s wise to tell them to use their common sense.
  2. You want to be a better trial lawyer? Try more cases. It’s the only way to learn.