Sole practitioners and lawyers in small firms know the last-minute feeling that you may not have enough time to be fully prepared for an upcoming trial or appeal. This happens not because of laziness or negligence, but because you're stretched too thin helping clients. Obviously, 11th Hour Counsel is not for small, routine cases, but for complex, high-stakes situations which justify bolstering your team.
Most clients will understand when you bring in an experienced lawyer to help with their case. I have no interest in "stealing" your client or representing them in the future. I'm there to help you do the best job for them.
The 11th Hour might be only a few days before trial and, unless I'm scheduled to be in court elsewhere, I'm ready to go. Anywhere in the state. Naturally, the sooner I'm involved, the more I can help, whether it's planning strategy, outlining discovery, finding experts, or taking depositions. The case can be civil or criminal in state or federal court.
Even though you expect the case to settle or end in mediation, you know that thorough preparation and the evident willingness to try the case can lead to a more favorable settlement. Complete preparation for trial has the same effect on mediation. Trials may be disappearing, but not trial preparation.
I know how exhausting it is to be in trials that last for weeks or months. Even if a trial is only a few days long, the late night preparation for the next day, dealing with witnesses or testimony out of order, and the vagaries of the judge's scheduling keep you off-balance and quickly wear you out. Having another lawyer to share the burden is absolutely necessary. The more complex and lengthy the trial, the more important that help is. Good trial lawyers know they need a second-chair. That's me. You may have refused complex or difficult cases in the past because you didn't know who to associate on the case. That's me
During my time in legal education, I taught trial practice and coached law school mock trial teams, using my prior experience in civil and criminal trials. My second book was Jury Trial: Law and Practice. You can read my take on basic trial skills (Chapter Seven, "Persuading the Jury") by clicking on the download below.
After we agree in writing on the scope of my work, I'll set a fee based on the time it will take to do an excellent job for you. In most cases, the fee will be less than one-half of what you would charge your client for the effort. (And much less than one-half of what I charge non-lawyer clients.) How or whether you bill your client for my work is up to you.
My low overhead allows me to work with lawyers at low rates. It does not allow me to run the risk of nonpayment. My fee is payable in advance. In the unlikely event you are ever less than satisfied with my work, I will make every reasonable effort to address your concerns.
Lawyers may have the same sinking feeling from a fast-approaching appeal. I can help. Or, if your fee agreement with the client only covered the trial, you may be more willing to represent them on appeal if you know you have reliable help with the appeal. My fee includes conducting the oral argument, in the event you do not wish to argue the case in the appellate court.
Of course, the extent of my role in the appeal may depend on your client's wishes. If you refer your client to different counsel for the appeal, I hope I will be one of the lawyers you recommend.