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Trial prep for your personal life


I have a BIG trial coming up, a seven-day bench trial in federal court. This is no small undertaking. The amount of work to be done in the next six weeks is unbelievable. There are motions in limine, pre-trial statements, bench memos. Not to mention preparing for witnesses, cross-examination, exhibits… I could go on and on. Oh, but wait—I have other cases to prepare for too!

The actual prep work for the trial is something I know how to do. It is no doubt stressful and all-consuming, but how to prepare my personal life for the torrential storm that is about to come down is something I have no idea how to do. (Suggestions are welcome in the comments section below.)

I usually plan to just cancel everything, disappear and live off coffee. This, however, is impossible. I still need to do all of the other necessary life things, such as eat, exercise, rest and see my husband. (And, of course, blog for The Daily Record.)

Every time I have a big trial, I call my mother.

“So, I have a trial,” I’ll say. “You may not see or hear from me for a few weeks.”

Thankfully, she is understanding and just requests that I call her to let her know I am alive every once in a while.

My poor husband, though, takes the brunt of it. For weeks before, I continually tell him that he will have to do all of the housework, cleaning and errands in addition to keeping me sane. I am fairly certain I stress him out by obsessing over the fact he will have to do it all. Then somewhere along the line, I feel terrible about making him do it all and I take a day and clean the house.

He is a trooper, though. He does his best to balance out all of the crazy and make trial prep and trial bearable. So, if you see him and he looks as tired as I do, you know why.

What I have learned from my past trials is that you have to ask for help and you have to be willing to let things go. Nothing is going to be perfect, and people generally understand.

Like the housewarming party we are throwing this weekend. There will not be potted plants beautifully displayed around the front steps and deck because instead of planting, I am writing a pretrial statement.

Angela Davis Pallozzi is counsel at Offit Kurman P.A. in Baltimore.