April 1, 2004 Regular News Tips for the young lawyer Preparing a case for trial Francisco Ramos, Jr. When should you start preparing for trial? Days before? Weeks before? The best time to start preparing for trial is at the start of the case.Start every case with the end in mind — the verdict you want — and pursue that end during every step in the litigation. You cannot assume that your case will settle. Do not prepare to settle a case. Prepare to try it. That way, if you do settle it, it will be due in part to your trial preparation. And if you do not settle it, you will be prepared to try the case and win.The following are some suggestions to keep in mind to help you achieve the results you seek at trial:• Develop a trial theme. At trial, you should have a theme around which you will present your case. The theme serves as the foundation of your case. Everything you do during the course of litigation should build on that theme. Keep it simple and short. You should start developing your theme as early as possible. With a theme in mind, you can start thinking about what evidence you will want to introduce at trial and what evidence you will want to keep out. The theme will assist you in deciding what motions to file, what witnesses to interview, whom to depose, and what to ask them to advance your theme.During litigation, you may realize that your theme needs some tweaking or deserves to be discarded and be replaced altogether. You are better off if you realize that your theme doesn’t work early on in the case, when you have enough time to change it, than to realize it on the eve of trial, when it is too late for improvisations.• Be first. Always be a step ahead of opposing counsel. You want to be proactive and set the course of litigation. Be the first to interview witnesses, to serve written discovery, to subpoena records from third parties and take depositions. Being first often affects the outcome of litigation. The first attorney to interview witnesses can take their sworn statements and lock them into their testimony. The first to serve discovery gets a jump on obtaining records and facts to support his case. Also, by pushing your case ahead, you show the other side that you and your client are in control.• Think out of the box. What can you do differently? Look at your case from different perspectives. Be creative. Are there other causes of actions you can plead? Other defenses to raise? Are there other witnesses or other documents which may support your case? Too often, lawyers get into a rut of following the same protocol when they work on a certain type of case. Don’t fall into this trap. Whether it’s a slip and fall or breach of contract, think of new ways to approach the case.• Think your case through. When you first start a case, develop a case strategy. Figure out what you need to do to win at trial and prepare a step-by-step plan to achieve your goal. Developing a plan ensures that everything you do has a purpose. Without a detailed plan, you’re likely to pursue avenues and do things which do nothing to advance your case, or worse, undermine it.• Do your research. Spend some quality time in the library to research the elements of the causes of action in your case and the affirmative defenses. You need to know what each side has to prove to win his case, what discovery to pursue, what to ask witnesses in deposition, and what motions to file.• Read the jury instructions. If you are plaintiff’s counsel, the jury instructions tell you what elements you have to prove to win at trial. If you are defense counsel, the instructions give you a road map to poking holes in your opponent’s case. From the beginning of the case, you need to know what the jury instructions expect you to present to a jury, so that during every step in the litigation you are gathering those facts in the interrogatories and request for production you propound, the subpoena for records you issue, and in the questions you ask in depositions.Having the facts you need to win shouldn’t be an accident. If you don’t know the jury instructions from the beginning of the case, the information you elicit which supports your case will be nothing more than coincidental. Know what you need to prove at trial and take the needed steps to elicit that information.• Have the court enter a scheduling order. Some courts enter detailed scheduling orders which spell out each phase of discovery and pre-trial deadlines. Others provide less guidance. Whether you are the plaintiff or the defendant, take steps to ensure that a detailed scheduling order is entered spelling out deadlines for expert disclosure, who discloses first, physical examinations of the plaintiff, depositions, etc.• File dispositive motions early. If you can win on summary judgment, start building your case early and file your motion as soon as it is appropriate to do so. Early analysis can help you isolate the weaknesses in your opponent’s case, one or more of which may be fatal.• Get your experts lined up early. Due to the expense, many clients prefer to delay the hiring of experts. However, being an ounce wise may prove to be a pound foolish. Experts can help you evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your case and that of your opponent. An expert can help you develop your case strategy and determine what discovery to propound and what questions to ask at deposition.• Let the client know what to expect. Whether it is the cost associated with trial or what the outcome may be, make sure your client knows what to expect if the case goes to trial.Success at trial is not an accident. It takes time and preparation, and that commitment of time and effort starts at the very inception of the case and continues through the time of trial. There are no shortcuts. Think through your case, come up with a theme and game plan, and commit all your energies to seeing your goals fulfilled. Francisco Ramos, Jr. is a senior associate with Clarke Silverglate Campbell Williams & Montgomery in Miami, practicing in the areas of commercial and personal injury litigation. He can be reached at (305) 377-0700 or [email protected] Tips for the young lawyer
Atty. Romulo Macalintal, Robredo’s legal counsel, on Monday filed a motion asking the SC to “furnish the parties with a copy of the summary and committee reports on the revision, recount and re-appreciation of ballots from the three pilot provinces of Camarines Sur, Negros Oriental and Iloilo.” Marcos cited alleged pre-shading of ballots, massive vote buying, script change in the transparency server that supposedly altered the results, pre-loaded secure digital cards, misreading of ballots, malfunctioning vote counting machines, and an “abnormally high” unaccounted votes/undervotes for the position of vice president. Former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, whose family is accused of plundering billions from public coffers, claimed “massive cheating” led to his 2016 defeat against Vice President Leni Robredo by some 260,000 votes. ABS-CBN NEWS “If the initial recount showed there was substantial recovery on the part of Marcos, the recount will proceed to the remaining 24 provinces and highly-urbanized cities that Marcos named in his protest,” Macalintal said. In his election protest, the former senator questioned the election results in 39, 221 clustered precincts in some 25 provinces and five cities all over the country involving around 9 million votes. Marcos only lost the vice presidential race to Robredo by 263,473 votes in the final and official tally by Commission on Elections. Marcos garnered 14,155,344 votes while Robredo got a total of 14,418,817. “Napakaraming espekulasyon. Nanalo na raw si Marcos, natalo na raw si VP Robredo. ‘Yang mga espekulasyon na ‘yan ay walang katotohanan,” Macalintal said. A newspaper column last week wrote that the high court justices have voted 8-6 in favor of Marcos’ electoral protest but SC Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin have denied the report. Macalintal also clarified that what the PET will determine during their scheduled voting today is whether there is basis to continue with the electoral protest based on the results of the initial recount. “If there is no substantial recovery, the PET will dismiss the entire protest and affirm Robredo’s status as VP,” the lawyer added. “Anuman ang mangyari bukas o sa mga susunod na araw ay mananatili siyang vice president.” MANILA – The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo asked the Supreme Court (SC), sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), to release the report on the initial recount of votes in Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s electoral protest. Robredo’s camp have earlier urged the tribunal to junk the electoral protest, claiming that the vice president’s lead even grew by 15,000 votes when the initial recount ended but the SC dismissed the petition as “speculative.”/PN
… says he is unprofessional, reckless, anchored in pastManaging Director of the National Frequency Management Unit (NFMU), Valmikki Singh finds it “reckless” and “unprofessional” that Guyana National Broadcasting Authority (GNBA) Board member, Tony Vieira, is attempting to stymie Guyana’s advancement into the digital technology age. Vieira, in a recent public statement, argued that Guyana “(does) not have to go digital”, referring to the evolution from analogue transmission to digital transmission.GNBA Board memberTony VieiraAnalogue transmission is a method of conveying voice, data, image, signal, or video information, using a continuous signal varying in amplitude, phase, or another property that is in proportion to a specific characteristic of a variable.Analogue transmission could mean that the transmission is a transfer of an analogue source signal which uses an analogue modulation method. FM and AM are examples of such a modulation.Digital transmission, on the other hand, is a literal transfer of data over a point to point (or point to multi-point) transmission medium – such as copper wires, optical fibres, wireless communications media, or storage media. The data that is to be transferred is often represented as an electro-magnetic signal (such as a microwave).Anchored in the pastVieira argued that there is “nothing which is written in stone” that says Guyana must go digital and accused the NFMU of planning the change-over withoutNFMU Managing Director,Valmikki Singhconsultation and consideration of how such a radical transformation will affect the poor.“Are we going to do like Mexico, just go digital and buy US$2 billion worth of TVs for our citizens, a lot of whose television sets cannot receive digital signals and who would have to purchase additional equipment to demodulate the digital signal to analogue form to accommodate the change-over,” he contended.However, the NFMU asserts that Guyana must embrace digital technology if the country wishes to develop and move forward.“The television broadcasting sector has been one of the areas that has been benefiting from the rapid advancement in technology. The global transition from analogue to digital terrestrial television broadcasting started several years ago. The developed world and many developing countries have already completed the transition or are actively in the process of the transition,” the NFMU outlined in a letter to the editor, noting that Guyana cannot afford to be left behind.According to Singh, in this information age, where the limited radio spectrum is increasingly becoming scarcer, efficiency in its use is a key element in the success of a business and ultimately the development of a country. In addition to its technical superiority to analogue TV, Digital TV is inevitable, the regulation body underscored.The NFMU finds it “unbelievable” that persons are so anchored in the past and unaware of the tremendous benefits of going digital.“It is unbelievable that in this day and age of computers, tablets, smart-TVs and the Internet, we have to still debate the benefits of digital over analogue,” the NFMU Managing Director posited.He also criticised the GNBA member for peddling falsehoods regarding the consultation process on the move towards digital transmission.Singh explained that the Guyana Government was offered and accepted assistance from the International Telecommunication Union (funding was provided by the Republic of Korea) to develop a Roadmap for the transition from analogue to digital terrestrial television broadcasting in Guyana.RoadmapHe said a National Roadmap Team, comprising representatives of the GNBA, the GNBS, MTIC, GRA, NCN, the Guyana Consumers Association and the NFMU was established in 2013.Additionally, Singh explained that public consultations, as well as consultations with TV broadcasters on the development of the Roadmap for the transition to Digital terrestrial television were held in July 2013 and January 2014.This final report was delivered to the NFMU in January 2016, according to the NFMU Managing Director. He said the report was promptly sent to the Public Telecommunications Ministry for discussion and further action.Further, Singh asserted that the NFMU sent copies of the Roadmap report to the GNBA in February 2016, which were subsequently sent to all Board members in early April 2016.“In its letter to the GNBA, the NFMU proposed to meet at mutually convenient times to discuss the implications, impact and actions necessary as a result of the imminent transition to DTT (this was also expressed to the Board). To date, there has been no response to NFMU’s request to meet,” the NFMU outlined.In this regard, the NFMU berated Vieira for holding on to the report for some eight months, but did not even offer a response regarding its contents. “(He) did nothing with it but now states boldly that Guyana does not have to go digital. This is the kind of unprofessionalism and recklessness that will stymie and retard the development of the Broadcasting, Telecom and ICT sectors in Guyana,” the NFMU contended.Singh expressed that it is unfortunate that Vieira, a prominent GNBA Member, wishes to keep Guyana rooted in the 1980s where technology was limited.