Fifty Ways To Lose A Good Case

Max would like to share some friendly tips from Judge Don Bridges on how to lose a good case.

  1. You are late for court.
  2. You do not recognize your clients.
  3. You fail to communicate with your client.
  4. You are not familiar with the facts of your case.
  5. You fail to know the applicable law.
  6. You fail to cite all of the applicable law.
  7. You fail to know your audience (judge or jury).
  8. You are not cordial with the court personnel.
  9. You fail to treat personnel the same as you treat the judge.
  10. You do not err on the side of formality.
  11. You fail the SOP Test (Show Organization and Preparation).
  12. You do not keep things moving (dead air).
  13. You fail to take the time to present your evidence.
  14. You take shortcuts without hints from judge.
  15. You fail to keep it Professional at all times.
  16. You fail to Mark the Exhibit and show it to Opposing Counsel.
  17. You fail to label and organize all exhibits in advance.
  18. You do not have a sufficient number of copies of each of your Exhibits.
  19. With the exception for strategic reasons, you fail to furnish copies of Exhibits to your opponent in advance of court.
  20. You fail to keep track of exhibits with master list (One good way to do this is through the use of a spreadsheet document).
  21. You prepare brilliant questions for the witnesses, but fail to listen to the answers.
  22. You let down your guard or have a lapse in attention.
  23. You fail to object to improper questions by your opponent or the proffer of incompetent evidence.
  24. You accept verbal stipulations offered by your opponent.
  25. You use boiler plate discovery in every case.
  26. You fail to actually read your discovery before service.
  27. You waste my time with silly discovery disputes.
  28. You fail to read and remember your opponent’s pleadings.
  29. You fail to read and remember your own pleadings.
  30. You fail to refine the issues in advance of trial through stipulations and pretrial order and request to admit.
  31. You fail to admit the obvious—keep your credibility with the court.
  32. You fail to present your case with some “flair” but rather just go through the motions.
  33. You fail to be creative—judges get bored with the same old same old stuff.
  34. You do not know the Local Rules or the Rules of Civil Procedure or the Rules of Evidence.
  35. You argue with the judge:  you persuade a judge and do not engage in argument with the judge.
  36. You let your opponent get under your skin (you cannot take anything as “personal”).
  37. You assume that an exhibit (yours or your opponent’s) will be admitted into evidence as a matter of course.
  38. You are not willing to dig through the evidence.
  39. You appear to be intimidated by your opponent.
  40. You never try to intimidate your opponent.
  41. You do not know when to stop talking (whether to the judge or in asking questions of a witness).
  42. You fail to get to the point.
  43. You fail to identify the pertinent issues for the court.
  44. You waste time by chasing rabbits.
  45. You fail to assemble the evidence and witnesses that you need before the hearing.
  46. You fail to adhere to the rulings of the court.
  47. You continue making the same mistakes.
  48. You act like a child (and the judge will treat you like one).
  49. You take a cheap shot at your opponent.
  50. You remember that it is a small world and what goes around comes around.