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Letter To Young Lawyers—Basic Tips And Presentation Of Evidence, by Hon. E. Kenneth Wright Jr.,YLD News, Illinois State Bar Association™, Vol. 55, No. 1 (August 2010)

Dear Attorney Jane Doe and Attorney John Doe:

As a young lawyer, you are in a place that I left some time ago. However, I have watched you step into jury courtrooms with a level of anticipation and excitement that is refreshing. While a few of you mask it well, I know there is also some anxiety lurking in the background. Don’t worry, because that anxiety strikes even the most seasoned litigators. Now I sit on the bench, and I sometimes wish I could call a time out during the trial to share with you some simple tips that will put you more at ease as you proceed with your case.

Being a member of the judiciary is an honor that comes with extraordinary powers and responsibilities. These powers do not include a coach’s ability to call for substitution of players, so in this note I want to briefly address some basic practical pointers to improve your overall practice as well as touch upon the specific issue of presentation of evidence to a jury. I hope by doing so I give you peace of mind and contribute, in a small way, to your growth as a fine attorney.

Basic Pointers

How quickly you acclimate yourself to courtroom practice depends in large part on you, your learning style, and how many opportunities you have to appear before the court. In the beginning, you may feel overwhelmed by the number of items you must remember, track and recall at a moment’s notice. In your haste, you may overlook a few very basic points that can actually help you. . . .