Week 6 2018

Double the Workshops, Double the Practical Experience

Double the Workshops, Double the Practical Experience

This week wins the prize for the busiest, but most exciting week of the program so far! Monday kicked off the direct and cross examination workshop with the other Summer Associates and Miami partner, Scott Sarason. Jeff went first with his direct examination of the witness who was played by Orlando associate, Christian Tiblier (a big shout-out and props to Christian for being a great witness!). Jessica went next with her cross examination. After Jeff and Jessica received feedback from Scott, Freddy presented his direct examination and I followed with my cross examination. The deposition transcript we were given to prepare for our workshop was around 350 pages, so needless to say we had more than enough information to prepare a thorough direct and cross examination. The feedback we were given was extremely helpful and made me feel more prepared for when we receive our final trial packet next week.

On Tuesday, the Summer Associates attended our seminar on Opening Statements and Closing Arguments presented by Tampa partner, Rob Blank. This week definitely forced me to hone in on my time management skills since we had two big workshops in one week, as well as our normal work assignments. It’s funny that I’m always amazed how attorneys juggle the heavy workload, on top of preparing for hearings, depositions, trial, etc., and then I find myself in a similar situation (although, it’s not without many hours of preparation and a little bit of struggle). In all seriousness, these workshops have taught me that it’s normal to be somewhat nervous. But, the more I prepare, the more comfortable I am and realize how much fun being a trial attorney really is!

In between my work assignments and preparing for my closing argument that I would present on Friday, I was able to attend mediation with the firm’s Managing Partner, Frank Sheppard. I’m not sure if all mediations are exciting, but this one was a blast! The mediation was for an employment case with claims alleging FMLA interference and retaliation, age discrimination, and workers’ compensation retaliation. I spent the day before the mediation working with Frank on some workers’ compensation retaliation research, so I was generally familiar with the case and our position for the mediation the following day. Mediation lasted from about 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and the end result was favorable for our client! Being able to sit in the room with Frank and our client and to see Frank’s reasoning behind every decision was invaluable!

Friday was the big day—Closing Arguments. I went to the Tampa office where the Closing Argument workshop would be held. The packet we received to prepare for the workshop is one of the firm’s real cases, which is set for trial next year. We presented our Closing Arguments to several partners including Rob Blank, Mike Forte and one of RK’s founders, Dick Caldwell. Jeff and I represented the Plaintiff, while Jessica and Freddy represented the Defendant. Although I think we all would agree the Defendant has the better case, it was interesting to see how each of us approached our Closing Arguments differently and incorporated our own style. After the workshop, we went to lunch at the Columbia Restaurant in Tampa, which was the perfect ending to a hectic and rewarding week!