Get a Crash Course from Your Expert

Learn fast from your expert about the area of expertiseSome lawyers decide at the beginning of a case that they’ll never be able to understand what the expert is talking about, and they make no effort to do so. Bad plan! Regardless of the expert’s skill, it’s the lawyer’s responsibility to make sure that his or her expertise is presented to the trier of fact in an admissible and persuasive way. To do that, the lawyer needs to understand the expert’s testimony and field of expertise. Here are four ways to educate yourself fast. Continue reading

How to Prepare the Separate Statement for a Summary Judgment Motion

fingers on keyboard tying out a separate statement in support of a motion for summary judgmentEvery motion for summary judgment or summary adjudication must include “a separate statement setting forth plainly and concisely all material facts which the moving party contends are undisputed.” CCP §437c(b)(1). Here’s what to include in a separate statement and how to format it. Continue reading

Should You Always Move for Summary Judgment and Summary Adjudication in the Alternative?

Motions for summary judgment and summary adjudication are frequently made in the alternative. Do you know why this is and when not to move alternatively? Continue reading

How to Prepare for a Hearing on Summary Judgment

A hearing on a motion for summary judgment or summary adjudication presents opportunities you don’t want to miss. Here’s how to prepare for the hearing whether the tentative ruling is in your favor or not, and when there’s no tentative ruling at all. Continue reading

How to Shorten or Extend Time for Your Motion

The timing on making motions is both a procedural and a tactical matter. Sometimes you’ll need a hearing date that’s sooner than would be normally possible, and other times you’ll want to file a notice of motion or get a hearing date that’s after the last date allowed. Here’s how to get the timing to work for you. Continue reading

Checklist: What to Do If Summary Judgment Is Denied

You moved for summary judgment but your motion was denied. Here’s a checklist of four things to ask yourself. Continue reading

6 Ways to Streamline Evidence

Juries usually base their verdicts on a small number of crucial points. But lawyers tend to offer as much evidence as possible, believing this will make their case more convincing or fearing they’ll leave something out. Finding the fine line between making sure the point isn’t lost and losing the point by insulting jurors with repetition requires thought and preparation. Here are six methods for streamlining the evidence in your next trial. Continue reading

8 Tips to Maximize Interpreter Effectiveness

Once you find a qualified interpreter, apply these eight tips to maximize the interpreter’s usefulness in court or at trial. Continue reading

Warn Your Expert Against Writing

Although in the “real world” scientists changing their minds may be the badge of intellectual honesty, in litigation the expert who backs away from a position or changes an opinion is supplying the opposition with a source of impeachment. Any time the expert makes a written record of his or her thoughts or opinions, the opposition gets a “paper trail” of potential impeachment material. To avoid this, tell your expert to keep writing to a minimum. Continue reading

Chart: Compare Summary Judgment to Other Motions

Apple to OrangeWhen considering whether to move for summary judgment or summary adjudication, always assess whether there are better procedures available for narrowing the issues or terminating the litigation. Keep the following chart handy to help you compare summary judgment and adjudication motions with alternative dispositive motions available under California law. Continue reading