There is no one precise way to organize and prepare your trial exhibit binder. Each type of case will demand a different strategy. If you practice criminal defense law, then you may need a section for state’s evidence, while a medical malpractice lawyer would likely need a detailed list of experts with their anticipated testimony.
That said, whatever your area of practice, if you are preparing for a trial, you should definitely have an exhibit binder. At AWR, we can help prepare amazing exhibits and keep you organized for trial. Contact us today for litigation support or to schedule a deposition.
Why Prepare a Trial Exhibit Binder?
Make no mistake, trial is a performance. Regardless of what state you practice in, chances are the local court rules will dictate how long proceedings should last, and they may even restrict opening and closing arguments. So, time is of the essence. To keep things flowing and avoid long pauses and awkward silences while looking for key evidence, it’s always best to have a guide. That’s where a exhibit binder is helpful.
What Should Be In Your Exhibit Binder?
Many litigation attorneys use a generic trial binder or trial notebook. This is a terrific starting point. It’s a binder or notebook of some sort that compiles all of your crucial documents in one place. Don’t think of it as a comprehensive file. It’s NOT your case file. It’s more of a brief guide to the case. You should be able to pick up a trial binder and quickly flip through the case from opening to closing, and find all of the important issues along the way.
On the other hand, if your case involves considerable evidence, you may want to keep a separate binder solely for exhibits. In this Exhibit Binder, you should keep the following:
- Deposition summaries
- Deposition condensed transcripts
- A list of all witnesses
- A list of all physical evidence
- Answers to written discovery for all parties
- Photos of all physical evidence
- Names of all witnesses who are expected to lay foundations for evidence
- A brief description of each piece of evidence that is anticipated to be introduced
Moving Toward Electronic Trial Binders
Some forward-thinking attorneys and law firms have begun using electronic trial binders and exhibit binders. At A. William Roberts, Jr. & Associates, we can collect key documents through our legal document management system, which will allow all of your important evidence to be at your fingertips. However, some attorneys prefer paper so it can easily be shared with opposing counsel, the court, and witnesses. Further, some experts and juries still prefer storyboards and other physical exhibits.
The key is knowing your audience and understanding what will work best for your particular case. For help preparing a trial exhibit binder or any other litigation support, contact the team at AWR today.