Because the vast majority of cases will settle before trial, success often means obtaining a desirable settlement. In negotiating with the other side, try to be flexible in deciding what you can live with. Your concept of a fair deal will be vastly different from the opposing party's numerical figure. While you'll want to drive a hard bargain, both sides are probably going to compromise eventually. Usually, the earlier this happens the better.
Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. Over the course of his 35-year career he was a solo practitioner, corporate lawyer, legal editor, Legal Aid staff attorney and insurance risk manager. Today he helps lawyers and firms put more mojo in their practice through marketing, work-life balance and reclaiming passion for what they do. He is available for consultations, retreats and presentations.
In almost all situations, a negotiated solution to a dispute is quicker, less expensive and more private than litigating in court. Often, judges require litigants to attempt to reach agreement using a trained facilitator called a mediator before they will be allowed to move forward to a courtroom trial. Take full advantage of the available opportunities for mediation. Cooperate fully with the mediator's requests, and see if it's possible to arrive at a negotiated deal that both you and the other side can live with.
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Support legal teams with “friend-of-the-court” briefs: Amicus briefs (“friend-of-the-court” briefs) can be filed by groups that seek to expand on legal teams’ arguments or bring an additional perspective to the conversation. During marriage legal cases, state and national partners often came together to line up robust amici briefs, and as marriage work shifted overwhelmingly to the courts in 2014, a significant amount of work involved enlisting signers. Hand-in-hand with our legal advocacy organizations Freedom to Marry worked to enlist signers who could demonstrate most powerfully that America was ready for marriage nationwide. This included Republican officials, faith leaders, businesses, first responders, and mayors. During these court cases, we generated media and public discussion by highlighting the numbers and prominence of signers on amicus briefs, and putting forward their business/public health/faith, etc., case for ending marriage discrimination.
5. Be like Clint Eastwood. “Look out for the jurors in the box. If Juror No. 3 is having a coughing fit, suggest a break or ask the judge if the juror can have a cup of water. Bless sneezes. An attorney who represents the National Enquirer told me about a trial in which the tabloid was sued by Clint Eastwood. During the actor’s testimony, an elderly juror sneezed. Eastwood stopped in the middle of his sentence and turned to the juror, meeting her rheumy brown eyes with his piercing blue ones. ‘God bless you, ma’am,’ he said. As she melted, the attorney for the magazine knew he’d lost the case.”
The HOPE Court judge recognizes that high-risk offenders, who may also have co-occurring disorders, or who have failed in drug abuse treatment, fare better in HOPE Court when they are required to attend frequent status checks. Under Judge Bert Brown’s close courtroom supervision, offenders move from the streets to sober living. The program's success is based upon Judge Brown’s zero judicial tolerance, coupled with rehabilitation programs and alternative sentencing.
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It's also important to remember that your attorney understands the litigation process in a way that you don't. While you're a foreigner in the legal realm, your lawyer lives there. So, it's worth paying careful heed to your lawyer's advice. If you don't understand something, ask probing questions. However, always keep in mind that your lawyer has extensive professional training and experience in these matters.
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Once you know the elements you'll have to prove to win your case, you can figure out what types of evidence will help you prove each key fact. However, not every kind of evidence can be presented in a courtroom: Complicated rules of evidence determine whether a particular document, statement, or item is admissible in court. Although you don't have to master every detail of these rules, you should do enough research to make sure that you'll be able to present the evidence you need to win.
Produce and air television ads to showcase overarching messages and powerful messengers. One powerful way to generate earned media and drive the narrative while a court case is pending is by airing a television commercial highlighting a poignant story or a powerful messenger. During federal court consideration of lawsuits in the Mountain West, we aired a television spot featuring retired U.S. Senator Alan Simpson speaking about the western and Republican values that were important to him and how they led him to support the freedom to marry. In Tennessee, we aired a spot featuring a gay Navy officer who had just served in Afghanistan and yet couldn’t marry his partner in his home state. In Texas, through our Texas for Marriage campaign, we featured the voices of non-gay police officers standing beside a gay colleague in support of his freedom to marry. For each of these, we did relatively small media buys, with the goal of getting coverage of the spot on television news and in print. Because the stories were both so powerful, for a relatively small investment in airing the spot, we received solid earned media coverage.
The state caused my mother to die three months after they took her from her home and placed her in a nursing home, where she refused to eat and developed a giant bed sore. I have the evidence. I had the funeral home take pictures of her body. She weighed only 85-90 pounds all her life. When she died in the nursing home, she barely weighed 60 pounds. Before they took her from her home, the only physical problem she had was slight dementia. The trauma caused her to stop eating.
The best cases are the ones that aren’t cases yet. This means that charges have not yet been pressed. If you know that you have committed a crime or you have been contacted by law enforcement investigating a crime, you are in a good position because it means evidence is still being gathered and a warrant has not yet been issued. This is usually the best and most important time to hire a criminal defense attorney.
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Cornell’s Legal Information Institute is celebrating Constitution Day by publishing the first publicly-available web version of the Congressional Research Service’s Constitution Annotated, a non-partisan publication that helps readers appreciate how Americans’ collective understanding of our governing principles has changed throughout our history on timely issues such as the scope of presidential power, limits on free speech, or the right to bear arms. Read More Here
If you find yourself up against a lawyer who won't stop rattling off legal citations or won't let you get a word in edgewise, you'll have to stand up for yourself. Tell the judge that you are representing yourself without a lawyer because you can't afford or justify the expense, and that you'll rely on the judge to apply the correct law and reach the right conclusions. Many judges will make an effort to keep the proceedings comprehensible to a self-represented party -- and will take steps to rein in an opposing lawyer who tries to take unfair advantage.
Whether you have been sued, or are planning to sue, you can win your case at various stages of the litigation. You must understand the law as well as the applicable procedural rules. You will win a case if you can show that your opponent missed a filing deadline, has no legitimate cause of action, spoiled or destroyed evidence, or doesn’t have strong enough evidence to win at trial.
I’m not sure we did capture all the possible cases. The highly publicized cases, like DACA and the travel ban, are obvious. Nobody seems to keep some sort of master list of everything else. So Deanna and I began to track them down using a variety of sources. We wound up with the number 63, which even since we wrote the piece has increased to about 68.
Litigation was the pathway to the freedom to marry in many states. It often takes a judge to challenge prevailing assumptions (and even prejudice) that political decision-makers such as legislators or voters may be more unwilling to overcome. Early on, we won in state courts, first in Hawaii in the 1990s, then in Massachusetts, California, Connecticut, and Iowa. Later, we won in federal court, first in California, then in Utah, Oklahoma, and beyond, all the way up to the Supreme Court. In total, 25 of our final state victories (aside from the 13 final states we won at the U.S. Supreme Court) came through judicial rulings – 5 in state court and the rest in federal court. Most of these court wins came through our movement’s legal arm – the American Civil Liberties Union, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Lambda Legal, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights – while a significant share were initiated by private attorneys and assisted by growing numbers of law firms eager to join in the progress. Several of these victories, though, were stripped away by political attack, and most of them would not have happened had we not built momentum in public understanding and even the politics of the marriage debate, creating the climate for the courts to rule in our favor and ensure that the public and elected officials would accept the outcome.
During the 18th and 19th centuries, it was common for lawyers to speak of bringing an "action" at law and a "suit" in equity. An example of that distinction survives today in the text of the Civil Rights Act of 1871. The fusion of common law and equity in England in the Judicature Acts of 1873 and 1875 led to the collapse of that distinction, so it became possible to speak of a "lawsuit." In the United States, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (1938) abolished the distinction between actions at law and suits in equity in federal practice, in favor of a single form referred to as a "civil action."