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5 Tips For Out-Of-Towners Litigating in California

05/08/2013 Law360

Nossaman Partner Patrick Richard was quoted in the Law360 article "5 Tips For Out-Of-Towners Litigating in California" regarding factors that make litigating cases in California different from other states.

"Californians see themselves as on the leading edge of environmental, social and health care issues," said Mr. Richard. 

He continued, "Although some law professors say there's the majority rule, the minority rule and the crazy California rule, out-of-towners need to be aware of the social differences when preparing to present their case."

Mr. Richard discussed the fact that jurors in California are accustomed to seeing informative PowerPoint presentations with sophisticated graphics.

"In one case, an out-of-state attorney said, ‘I don't have Mr. Richard's fancy graphics; I only come with the truth,'" he said. "I think that attitude is insulting to the jury. The attorney was basically telling them he didn't take the time to prepare some teaching aids."

Mr. Richard also suggested that out-of-towners connect with local attorneys in California.

"In employment cases, local counsel can give insight into judicial backgrounds and whether judges may be leaning toward employees or toward employers," he said.

Mr. Richard also cautioned out-of-towners to avoid gimmicks, recalling a case during which an out-of-state attorney began aggressively grilling a witness in cross-examination and firing off questions rapidly.

"If you're too into your own performance and making sure you got your script in, you might forget how you appear," Mr. Richard said. "You may have won the exchange, but you may have lost the jury."

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