First Trial Jitters

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Anon1

First Trial Jitters

Post by Anon1 » Mon Nov 04, 2019 10:48 pm

I apologize if this is in the wrong forum, but need to post anonymously. I have my first ever trial coming up in 2 weeks and I'm completely freaking out. It's for a law school clinic and I just feel like I don't have the experience to handle this right. Our client has been offered a pretty decent plea deal (a low level misdemeanor when the underlying charge is a serious felony). The prosecution's case is pretty weak and our client wants a trial, but I can't shake the feeling that I'm about to ruin someone's life with my inexperience. Does anyone have any words of advice or encouragement?

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Nony
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Re: First Trial Jitters

Post by Nony » Tue Nov 05, 2019 6:12 am

it’s completely normal to feel this way, and there’s a reason clinics have supervisors - they won’t let you ruin someone’s life. Your client may not get the outcome they want, but that won’t be you ruining their life. The client is choosing to go to trial and run the risk of the serious conviction, which is their right, even if you’d make that choice differently.

Besides, everyone in the courtroom will know you’re a student practitioner. That doesn’t mean you don’t have to be prepared/nothing bad can happen, but the judge will likely try to make sure everything that should happen, does happen (they want trial to be done correctly as well). The thing about trials is, really the only way to learn how to do them, is to do them. Which means you’re going to have to feel like you don’t know what you’re doing for a bit.

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freshy dog
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Re: First Trial Jitters

Post by freshy dog » Wed Nov 06, 2019 12:21 am

I strongly agree with the above post. You are not alone and what you feel is totally normal. Some of the below advice is probably obvious, but I’ll throw it out there since I have pretty bad anxiety over public speaking, especially formal occasions in court or before agencies.

Practice until you can do what you need to do without even thinking about it and not on a script. If you have the chance, go sit in the court room audience where your trial will be and get a sense of the space, visualize where you’re going to stand/walk, etc. Make sure you get as much sleep as you can the night before and hydrate. When you get up there, you may feel ready and calm, but you may not. Accept that the anxiety or fear is going to be there, but also realize that it’s ok to feel that way and it doesn’t have to control how you act. The more you do it, the easier it will get, and it’s great to be getting experience so early.

Anon1

Re: First Trial Jitters

Post by Anon1 » Tue Nov 19, 2019 6:04 pm

Update for any future readers in a similar situation. Client was found not guilty on both counts. Anyone freaking out before your first trial, have faith in yourself. You can do it!

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ymmv
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Re: First Trial Jitters

Post by ymmv » Tue Nov 19, 2019 7:03 pm

Congratulations, anon!

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Pleasy E
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Re: First Trial Jitters

Post by Pleasy E » Tue Nov 19, 2019 10:07 pm

ymmv wrote:
Tue Nov 19, 2019 7:03 pm
Congratulations, anon!

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abyss
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Re: First Trial Jitters

Post by abyss » Wed Nov 20, 2019 11:52 am

Pleasy E wrote:
Tue Nov 19, 2019 10:07 pm
ymmv wrote:
Tue Nov 19, 2019 7:03 pm
Congratulations, anon!

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-__________________-
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Re: First Trial Jitters

Post by -__________________- » Wed Nov 20, 2019 1:26 pm

did he do it though

lolwat
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Re: First Trial Jitters

Post by lolwat » Wed Nov 20, 2019 5:38 pm

Woo, congratulations.

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BlendedUnicorn
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Re: First Trial Jitters

Post by BlendedUnicorn » Wed Nov 20, 2019 7:21 pm

Awesome, and congratulations! And this adds to my growing belief that it's not necessarily the worst thing in the world for a young defense attorney to come off as a little nervous.

GodSpeed
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Re: First Trial Jitters

Post by GodSpeed » Sat Nov 30, 2019 6:37 pm

Congrats!
I always tell people to just prepare their asses off. I'd take a mediocre prepared lawyer over a well seasoned attorney just winging it any day. If you're well prepared, you have nothing to worry about! Sounds like you were well prepared.

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