Law; Trial Memo

AuthorLeonard H. Bucklin
16. Law; Trial Memo
“Law” is the place to store any special law notes and the critical citations that the
attorney wants to have for quick use at the trial (like a relevant case or short brief on the
admissibility of a piece of evidence on which dispute is likely). This section is your
portable library of law of points and authorities applicable to your case, ready to use
wherever and whenever you are in the courtroom or the judge’s chambers.
In addition to being a place to store that special legal research you did only for this
case, this tab division is a good place to put those bits of research that you have done in
the past that seem to be frequently needed, or those statutes that arise often. In all my
trial notebooks I permanently carry points and authorities on:
– Using a deposition when the witness is available in court to testify
– The admission into evidence of post-accident changes
– Admissibility of a police officer’s opinions
– Hearsay does not include “verbal acts”
– The business records admissions statute
The more litigation you do, the more of these common evidence items you will want
to keep ready for the next trial. Keep these items in a file folder in your office. When you
get ready for trial, open that file folder and “load and lock” those that apply to the case
into your trial notebook.
If your jurisdiction is one that uses Daubert or its progeny to exclude evidence, also
keep here a generalized brief to immediately present if you are met at trial by a motion
by the opposition to exclude your own expert’s opinion testimony. Daubert-style
motions can be brought in a number of ways, and you should have prepared a brief
generalized response, with points and authorities, even if the adverse side has not
served you with a Daubert-style motion before trial.
§16.1 Trial Memo
In every case that is tried, you should have a trial memo. As soon as you prepare it,
place here an extra double-sided copy of any trial memo to be given to the court. A sec-
ond copy is kept in its usual place in the legal pleadings file.
Your trial memo is your final advocacy summary of the case to the court. You want it
handy, so when a point mentioned in your trial memo arises during the trial, you can
physically show the judge the legal points and authorities you want to make in the side-
bar conference. Some trial judges can never quickly find anything in the court file, and

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