Network Firm News

Monday, March 16, 2015

Network Trial Lawyers Write the Book on Trying Cases

When the ABA approached author and editor trial lawyer John Worden of Schiff Hardin's San Francisco office about writing a book on trying cases, John knew that his active trial practice precluded devoting the hours needed to do it.  But it was the chance of a lifetime to compile in one place a load of information that every trial lawyer, from beginning litigator to seasoned trial lawyer, could use and benefit from.

So John reached out to outstanding trial lawyers in the Network of Trial Law Firms and sought topic ideas and chapter authors.  A year of drafts, revisions, rewrites and edits later, the result is From the Trenches: Strategies and Tips From 21 of the Nation's Top Trial Lawyers, a very readable, comprehensive and instructive compendium of tools, techniques and time-tested tidbits of trial tactics that every trial lawyer and litigation manager can use.  The book's nineteen chapters address everything from jury selection and theme development to closing argument and preserving appellate issues.

Topics include the judge's perspective, trial elegance, brevity in everything from motions in limine to appeals, what to wear, what to do when the rug is pulled out from under you, mock juries, spoliation of evidence, use of videos, preserving the record on appeal, voir dire, evidence, telling your story, watching the jury, persuasive opening arguments,  demonstrative evidence, deconstructing key liability witnesses, cross-examining experts, calling eye witnesses, and crafting winning closing arguments.

If you buy only one book in your lifetime on trials, this is the one to get.  Buy it for yourself as a birthday gift, Mothers' Day present, vacation read or a friendly tome to dip into from time to time between trials.  One thing it's not is a cure for insomnia.  This book will keep you awake.  It's the trial lawyer's version of a page-turner.

Read the book's preface by John Worden.

See the book's Table of Contents.


Chapter 1: Joseph S. Kiefer; Snell & Wilmer, Phoenix
Joseph Kiefer is currently a litigation partner at Snell & Wilmer in Phoenix, Arizona, where he serves primarily as a national counsel defending product manufacturers in complex and catastrophic injury cases and representing clients in other commercial and civil litigation matters. Joe has tried hundreds of cases as a civil litigator, prosecutor, criminal defense counsel, and trial judge in the U.S. Air Force Reserve. He was recently appointed to the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals as an appellate judge.

Chapter 2: Robert H. Feinberg; Snell & Wilmer, Phoenix
Robert Feinberg has a broad-based litigation and trial practice. An experienced trial lawyer of over 20 years, he handles a wide variety of complex litigation, including healthcare, criminal defense, general commercial, defamation, products liability, and personal injury. A former criminal prosecutor, Robert now defends those accused of criminal offenses and conducts internal corporate investigations involving theft, fraud, and other misconduct. Robert’s healthcare litigation practice centers on the representation of hospitals, laboratories, and other healthcare facilities, and physicians, nurses, and other professionals.

Chapter 3: Edward Casmere; Schiff Hardin, Chicago
Edward Casmere is a partner at Schiff Hardin, where he focuses his practice on product liability, toxic/mass torts, and general litigation. He is based in Chicago, but his trial work allows him to see the inside of courtrooms from coast to coast.

Chapter 4: Patricia Brown Holmes; Schiff Hardin, Chicago
Patricia Brown Holmes is a member of Schiff Hardin’s Executive Committee; leads the Compliance, Investigations, and White Collar Group; and chairs the firm’s Diversity Committee. She is a trusted advisor and seasoned trial attorney whose diverse practice includes high-stakes trial work and internal investigations. Patricia served nine years as an associate judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County. Since returning to private practice, she has won numerous professional honors and accolades. She is also peer-rated by Leading Lawyers magazine as one of the top 50 Women Lawyers in Illinois and Top 10 Women in White Collar Law.

Chapter 5: Jean L. Bertrand; Schiff Hardin, San Francisco
Jean L. Bertrand practices primarily in the areas of real estate, toxic torts, and commercial litigation. She has substantial trial experience and has argued several cases on appeal. Jean also has extensive experience in the administration of complex litigation.

Chapter 6: Allegra J. Lawrence-Hardy; Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan, Atlanta
Allegra Lawrence-Hardy uses creativity and results-oriented strategic analysis to develop legal solutions that work for her clients. Allegra is a member of the firm’s executive committee and co-heads both the Business and Commercial Litigation team and the Labor and Employment team. She is known for her skill in trying cases, negotiating complex settlements, and finding creative solutions.

Chapter 7: Robert D. Owen; Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan, New York
Bob Owen is partner in charge of the New York office of Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan. He has decades of commercial litigation experience acquired in hundreds of cases before federal and state courts and arbitration panels in New York and throughout the United States. Although primarily a litigator and trial lawyer, Bob is also a nationally recognized expert in e-discovery. Chambers consistently rates him as one of five first-rank Leading Individuals in e-discovery nationally.

Chapter 8: David T. Schultz; Maslon Edelman Borman & Brand, Minneapolis 
David Schultz is a trial lawyer and partner at Maslon Edelman Borman & Brand in Minneapolis, where he focuses his practice on high-stakes litigation. David’s trial experience in product liability, personal injury, and wrongful death cases is extensive, dating back to his time as an assistant Minnesota attorney general where he defended the state in such matters. In private practice, he has successfully represented a broad range of companies in complex litigation and currently acts as national counsel for a large medical device manufacturer.

Chapter 9: M. C. Sungaila, Snell & Wilmer, Orange County & Los Angeles
Mary-Christine (M. C.) Sungaila, an appellate partner at Snell & Wilmer in Orange County, California, has successfully briefed and argued appeals raising cutting-edge and core business issues statewide as well as nationally and internationally. Her practice also includes consulting at trial and serving as part of the extended trial team focused on preserving the record for appeal and maximizing the chances of prevailing at trial. She has repeatedly been named a Notable Appellate Practitioner in California by Chambers U.S.A. and one of California’s Top Women Lawyers by the Daily Journal.

Chapter 10: Sawnie McEntire; Beirne, Maynard & Parsons, Dallas
Sawnie McEntire is a partner in the Dallas office of Beirne, Maynard & Parsons. He has practiced law for over 30 years, handling and trying complex litigation matters in federal and state courts throughout Texas and in several other states serving as national counsel, statewide counsel, and regional counsel for various clients. He has tried dozens of cases to jury verdict and has been involved in commercial tort litigation, automotive products liability litigation, pharmaceutical litigation, and real estate litigation.

Chapter 11: John S. Worden; Schiff Hardin, San Francisco
John Worden, like all the authors, is an old-school trial lawyer. He has tried dozens of cases for plaintiffs and defendants, in state and federal courts, in front of judges, juries, and binding arbitration panels. Most such cases are on the defense, but he has four seven- and eight-figure plaintiff verdicts, and at one point he had a 20-trial winning streak. He focuses on California and Nevada but has been lead counsel in roughly 16 states. In addition, for many years he has taught litigation at UC-Hastings School of Law.

Chapter 12: Nicole D. Bearce; Lowenstein Sandler, New York and New Jersey
Nicole Bearce is known for her authentic style and thoughtful approach to building credibility and trust with clients, adversaries, judges, and jurors. At her best and most persuasive under pressure, Nicole handles high-stakes, complex commercial matters, including pharmaceutical and mass tort litigation, contract and fiduciary breach claims, corporate governance conflicts, consumer fraud allegations, and disputes among shareholders and business partners. An accomplished courtroom lawyer and litigation partner at the firm of Lowenstein Sandler, Nicole graduated at the top of her class from Drew University (Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude) and obtained her JD from Harvard Law School, with honors.

Chapter 13: James M. Miller, Akerman, Miami
Jim Miller, a partner at Akerman’s Miami office, has been trying civil cases before juries since 1976. He has tried or arbitrated a wide variety of civil cases ranging from antitrust to zoning with intellectual property, trade secrets, products liability, general commercial, and catastrophic torts in between. Jim graduated from the University of Chicago Law School and received his BA, magna cum laude, from the University of Miami. He is currently listed in Best Lawyers of America for Commercial Litigation and by Who’s Who International: Litigation. He is a former Chairman of the Network of Trial Law Firms.

Chapter 14: Lewis S. Wiener; Sutherland Asbill & Brennan, Washington, D.C. and Ronald W. Zdrojeski; Sutherland Asbill & Brennan, New York Lewis Wiener has over 25 years of trial and advocacy experience and leads the Financial Services Litigation Team at Sutherland Asbill & Brennan, where he also serves as a member of the firm’s executive committee. Lew’s extensive litigation and trial experience includes serving as class action defense counsel and arbitration counsel, conducting large internal investigations, handling complex litigation matters, and defending entities in connection with investigations and enforcement actions brought by federal and state government agencies. While a trial lawyer with the U.S. Department of Justice, he was twice recognized by the attorney general for special achievement in the handling of significant litigation on behalf of the United States and was the lead government counsel in the largest class action ever filed against the United States.

Ron Zdrojeski is a partner in Sutherland Asbill & Brennan’s New York office. With over three decades of trial experience, Ron focuses on counseling and defending businesses in complex commercial litigation, including class action, toxic tort, trade secret, intellectual property, environmental, and maritime litigation. Ron has litigated in 48 of the country’s 50 states, defending Fortune 500 companies, insurers, and corporate officers in criminal and civil investigations, including market manipulation, fraud, and other white-collar matters.

Chapter 15: W. Scott O’Connell; Nixon Peabody, Boston & Manchester
Scott O’Connell is Co-Chair of the Litigation Department and a member of the firm’s Management Committee. He is a trial lawyer known for his perseverance, strategic thinking, and value-driven service for clients. Scott focuses on class action and aggregate litigation and corporate governance and control contests. He is currently representing financial services and healthcare companies in high-exposure disputes with associated significant reputational harm in parallel civil, criminal, and regulatory proceedings.

Chapter 16: Michael L. O’Donnell and LaMar F. Jost; Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell, Denver
Mike O’Donnell is a co-founder and the chairman of Denver-based Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell. His national litigation practice focuses on complex civil litigation involving product liability, professional liability, tort, class action, commercial, and bet- the-company matters. He has appeared as lead counsel in 25 states and serves as national counsel for a number of Fortune 500 companies, including General Electric, Advanced Bionics, McKesson, Boston Scientific, Pfizer, and Ford Motor Company. An elected Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, American College of Trial Lawyers, and American Board of Trial Advocates, Mike was selected as the number one lawyer in Colorado for 2013 and 2014 by Colorado Super Lawyers.

LaMar Jost is a trial lawyer and partner with the Denver law firm Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell, where he has devoted the first decade of his career to successfully trying cases in federal and state courts across the country. Because of his extensive trial work in practice areas ranging from healthcare to environmental and commercial law, LaMar has been selected as a “Rising Star” by Colorado Super Lawyers for five years running. Prior to joining Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell, LaMar had the honor of clerking for the Honorable Clarence Brimmer in the District of Wyoming and for the Honorable Bobby Baldock at the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Chapter 17: Daniel J. Stephenson; Dykema Gossett, Los Angeles
Dan Stephenson is the head of Dykema Gossett’s National Trial Team and has been trying cases across the country for 32 years. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan (JD) and the University of California, Los Angeles (BSME). Dan is a world champion masters swimmer and the author of the novel The Underwater Window (Watermark 2012).

Chapter 18: Robert J. Squire; Akerman, Miami
Robert J. Squire is a litigation partner in the Miami office of Akerman. Rob’s practice focuses on complex and large loss tort litigation including premises liability, products liability, property, and negligent security matters. Rob represents local and national entities at both the trial and appellate levels.

Chapter 19: John Jerry Glas; Deutsch, Kerrigan & Stiles, New Orleans
John Jerry Glas is a partner at the law firm of Deutsch, Kerrigan & Stiles, L.L.P., in New Orleans, Louisiana, and the Vice-Chair of the Civil Litigation Department. He has tried more than 70 jury trials and enjoys teaching trial practice as an adjunct professor at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law. Before joining the firm in 1999, he earned a master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Toronto and served as a senior assistant district attorney for Orleans Parish. 

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