THE FOUNDATION OF THE MISSIONAL LITIGATOR
The Litigator's Mission
The Litigator's Mission is to prepare for trial in order to resolve disputes as quickly and efficiently as possible.
-Preparing for trial means deliberately and competently performing the functions necessary to conduct a jury trial
-Resolving disputes means putting a firm and final end to intractable legal controversies
-To be quick and efficient is to reach resolution in the shortest duration and lowest cost that is possible given the circumstances of each individual case
The Missional Litigator stays focused on Mission because that results in the best outcome for his clients.
The Litigator's Foundation
The Litigator's Foundation is the underlying basis and set of principles that undergird all that a Litigator must be, know and do to accomplish his Mission.
There are four pillars in the Litigator's Foundation:
MISSIONALITY: the Litigator's commitment to Mission in all that he does
ESSENTIAL SKILLS:the tasks that the Litigator must perform with excellence to accomplish the Mission
CRITICAL PATH: the route formed through Litigation by the functions that are necessary to prepare for trial
GROUP DEVELOPMENT: the formation and deployment of a dynamic Litigation Group
The Litigator builds and reinforces his Foundation throughout his career so that he can weather the grind and stay Missional.
There are three Essential Skills that the Litigator must perform with excellence: Cross, Close and Counsel.
CROSS: the cross-examination of hostile witnesses during a jury trial
CLOSE: the delivery of a closing argument to a jury
COUNSEL: the provision of legal, ethical and practical advice to a client through the course of Litigation
While Cross and Close bear their fruit during the trial itself, the seeds of their effectiveness must be planted during the preparation for trial. To be excellent at Cross and Close, a Litigator must be excellent at preparing for them, and that preparation begins long before the first witness is called. Likewise with Counseling. To be excellent, the Litigator must be focused upon its performance from the first moment of the Litigation process.
The Critical Path
There are seven functions along the Critical Path. To stay on Mission, the Litigator priorities the Critical Path functions above all else that he does.
Complaint/Answer: the complaint is the document that initiates Litigation and the answer is the document filed by the defendant in response
Instructions: the law and direction provided by the judge to the jury just prior to deliberation
Requests: the initial set of interrogatories and requests for production of documents sent to the opposing counsel during discovery
XBox: the compilation of the exhibits the Litigator uses during deposition and trial
30(b)(6): the deposition of the opposing counsel's primary witness
SMJ (summary judgment): judgment granted by the court before trial on the grounds that a claim lacks a material issue of fact in dispute
Mediation: a court-ordered settlement conference between the parties in Litigation
To stay Missional throughout his career, the Litigator must be constantly developing, deploying and leading a dynamic Litigation Group that is comprised of case teams that work in concert to accomplish the Mission.
Group Development has three elements:
Leadership: influencing movement to advantage
Individual Initiative: the ability and willingness to take action to resolve disputes without specific instructions
Teamwork: the integrated effort of the Litigation Group members to prepare for trial as a case team
A Litigator who does not engage in Group Development will ultimately find himself practicing alone, which is a place from which Missionality is not possible.