Before a matter is set for trial, every attempt is made to reach a favorable resolution without the risk and uncertainty of trial. Even when a client is confident about his chance of success at trial, we treat trials like surgery: there is always the chance that something could go seriously wrong. We are always cautiously optimistic, but we strike to be appropriately realistic in advising a client whether or not to go to trial.
This is often a tough objective because the reason each of decided to practice criminal law is that we enjoy practicing in the courtroom. Negotiating a dismissal of a case is a good feeling, but for some reason the pronouncement of innocence by a judge or jury offers an unparalleled feeling of vindication. Like most lawyers, we're competitive and battling with opposing counsel in trial and contested hearings is as much about our own personal professional performance as it is for advocacy for our clients.
When negotiation is unsuccessful, the lawyers in the Firm have outstanding experience in handling contested hearings, trials before the court, trials before 6 and 12 person juries in both state and federal court, and tense oral arguments before the highest criminal court in Texas. One of the single-most important qualities the Firm looks for in hiring attorneys is the strength of their law and motions practice, oral advocacy, and overall effectiveness in trial. We try lawsuits in pairs, and each trial team is assembled to match the strengths of the lawyers for the particular client and pending accusation.
We enjoy working with clients who can participate in a joint endeavor of an intelligent assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of their case. After we've weighed the options and it appears that the best course of action is to go to trial, we enjoy the methodical preparation leading up to it. (On average, we spend 15-20 hours preparing for each hour in trial). We spend a great deal of time explaining the process to our client so they can continue to be an active participant in their defense, and we begin and end every trial as a strong, unified team.
Because we have the good fortune of having a larger office, we routinely participate in trial training exercises and mock cross-examinations in which every lawyer on staff adds to the preparation. We have also been hired by other lawyers to sit as a second chair during trial, as well as to handle the trial altogether.
Not every case should go to trial. For the ones that should, we welcome the opportunity to advocate for our client.