Trial Exhaustion

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CS1775
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Trial Exhaustion

Post by CS1775 » Sun Apr 21, 2019 5:54 am

I'm on my law school's trial team (aka mock trial) and I took a trial advocacy class this semester and I've realized a few things:

*Trials are exhausting in the amount of prep work required
*The adrenaline rush of the day of the trial is countered by the overwhelming sense of "I'm dead" as soon as the verdict comes back
*The day after, I simply don't want to do anything
*Prepping and running a trial brings out my negative personality traits (anger, anxiety, irritability) in too great a quantity
*I always fuck up in trials, I honestly need more training

The problem I really have is that I'm going to be a student practitioner with a well-respected state-wide public defender office this summer. This fall, I will be doing a 12+2 credit judicial clinic with a state appellate judge. I had intended to work as a PD post-grad or post-clerkship, but honestly, this shit is going to kill me or make me a miserable, friendless wreck.

lolwat
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Re: Trial Exhaustion

Post by lolwat » Sun Apr 21, 2019 3:14 pm

I think all five of those things are pretty common, especially the first and last. I know a lot of trial lawyers who do a long trial and take a few weeks off vacation. Then there are others who have gotten so used to trials that they don't really get much of an adrenaline rush or the "I'm dead" sense anymore, and they can go from trial to trial without really stopping.

Make the most of that summer job at the PD's office. See if you like the experience, sit down and talk to people from that office over the summer and see how they deal with these kinds of things, etc. It may be time to revisit what you'd actually like to do. The clinic with the state appellate judge will probably help you figure that out, too.

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Danger Zone
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Re: Trial Exhaustion

Post by Danger Zone » Sun Apr 21, 2019 3:33 pm

I felt the same way about mock trial after thinking I wanted to be a litigator my whole adult life, and then became a corporate attorney 🤷🏻‍♂️ no regerts

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Nony
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Re: Trial Exhaustion

Post by Nony » Sun Apr 21, 2019 3:42 pm

Yeah, I think these are all absolutely normal reactions to trials. Keep in mind, though, that there is a TON to learn about doing trials, and so they're even more overwhelming at the beginning than they will be as you go along - which is to say, you may find that it gets better, especially wrt anxiety/anger/irritability. Or you may find that you just get used to the above (I think everyone I know acknowledges that trials are a ton of work/tiring and that right after trial no one wants to do anything. And that's usually absolutely fine).

Also you may have to adjust to the realization that the trials themselves are where you get the training. There's a lot you can prepare/train for ahead of time, but sometimes you have to just learn it by doing. And that's how everyone does it, and the office you're working at will understand that.

So yeah, this summer will be a good time to figure out if this is something you'd like to do long term. I think it's hard to assess how you feel about trial until you have a little more experience - assuming it's the first time you've really had to get up in front of people and think on your feet as required in trial, it takes some adjusting to.

lolwat
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Re: Trial Exhaustion

Post by lolwat » Sun Apr 21, 2019 5:11 pm

I think the one thing that never goes away is the prep and amount of work needed. Especially for multi-day trials. It's just grueling. Spend the entire previous day preparing for your examination the next day, go into court for 7-8 hours or whatever, then spend the rest of your night preparing for the next day (and that's assuming you don't have to file or respond to any trial briefs/emergency motions), and repeat ad nauseum until trial ends.

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CS1775
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Re: Trial Exhaustion

Post by CS1775 » Mon Apr 22, 2019 4:00 am

Thanks for the support. Glad to know its not just me. I think this summer is going to let me know if trial work is something I can do as a career or if its something that's going to burn me out.

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BlendedUnicorn
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Re: Trial Exhaustion

Post by BlendedUnicorn » Mon Apr 22, 2019 1:36 pm

Trials-especially complex trials-are also really boring for long stretches.

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Nony
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Re: Trial Exhaustion

Post by Nony » Mon Apr 22, 2019 1:50 pm

They’re often that horrible combo of boring and stressful. Like I can actually be bored by a witness I’m examining at the same time that I’m stressed because I’m examining a witness.

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BlendedUnicorn
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Re: Trial Exhaustion

Post by BlendedUnicorn » Tue Apr 23, 2019 3:10 pm

Nony wrote:
Mon Apr 22, 2019 1:50 pm
They’re often that horrible combo of boring and stressful. Like I can actually be bored by a witness I’m examining at the same time that I’m stressed because I’m examining a witness.
Yup. And you're often running on not that much sleep and you don't want to (or in my court you're not allowed to) drink a lot of coffee and it's just, ugh.

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DOT
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Re: Trial Exhaustion

Post by DOT » Tue Apr 23, 2019 4:22 pm

I remember during an internship I did, I went to court to watch some of my firm's lawyers at trial

I sat there for two hours listening to some guy reading line 36 of documents alpha/beta/gamma from 1967 about "gaskets" for the entire time, and apparently that was his third day on the stand. I wanted to die

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CS1775
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Re: Trial Exhaustion

Post by CS1775 » Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:29 pm

DOT wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 4:22 pm
I remember during an internship I did, I went to court to watch some of my firm's lawyers at trial

I sat there for two hours listening to some guy reading line 36 of documents alpha/beta/gamma from 1967 about "gaskets" for the entire time, and apparently that was his third day on the stand. I wanted to die
:lol:

Yeah, the "hey, let's send the intern to court!" days are the worst. During this spring semester I did that a few times. Most of the time its horrendously boring. However, I worked on one project for an attorney where I basically ghost-wrote a constitutional argument for his motion to dismiss. I went and watched him make the MTD argument and it was fascinating watching him make my arguments. I was especially proud when he cited to the judge a footnote I wrote on a whim.

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Nony
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Re: Trial Exhaustion

Post by Nony » Wed May 08, 2019 4:33 pm

BlendedUnicorn wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 3:10 pm
Nony wrote:
Mon Apr 22, 2019 1:50 pm
They’re often that horrible combo of boring and stressful. Like I can actually be bored by a witness I’m examining at the same time that I’m stressed because I’m examining a witness.
Yup. And you're often running on not that much sleep and you don't want to (or in my court you're not allowed to) drink a lot of coffee and it's just, ugh.
It me right now.

Also trial is amazing (in the bad way) for those “professional life flashing before my eyes” moments.

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