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Trial nerves

My next jury trial is Tuesday—it’s a rather simple workers’ compensation appeal that, by all accounts, should be finished in a day. The employer and the insurer, appellants to the Commission’s order, put their medical expert on video months ago, and my medical expert was recorded last Thursday. The only other witness will be my client, the appellee/injured worker.

So, this past weekend, preparing for the case required: (1) crafting an opening statement (including PowerPoint); (2) writing a direct exam for my client; (3) summarizing the de bene esse deposition of my medical expert (the transcript was e-mailed to me Friday night from my court reporter friends at LAD Reporting); (4) anticipating the appellant’s arguments; and (5) and making some notes in anticipation of closing.

Of course, there’s other odds and ends—Monday I’ll have to put together my “trial in a box” (markers, stapler, projector, extension cord, power strip, duct tape, flash drives, notepads, paper clips, binder clips, pens, highlighters, Maryland Rules, Maryland Rules of Evidence, my workers’ comp manual, and anything else I can think of); double check all the technology to make sure it works; and there’s the matter of that one case I need to research just to make sure I can anticipate a possible defense argument. But, my medical records binders are completed, indexed and outlined; my law binder has everyone’s motions in limine, jury instructions, proposed voir dire, and special verdict sheets; and there just isn’t much more to it.

Regardless, it’s hard to relax. I’ve never been the kind who can just walk away and say I’m ready—the problem is, I never feel ready. There’s always something else to do, even if it is just reading through the meds for the umpteenth time.

I envy those lawyers who, somehow, can walk into a deposition or trial with a notepad and just seem to know what’s going on and how to react to it.  Maybe that’s something that comes with experience, but I always feel like I need to be ultra-prepared, that I can’t trust my instincts, and that every fact needs to be reviewed and re-reviewed. So, the result is that it’s been a sleepless weekend. But hopefully, there will be less anxiety on Tuesday.