The trial lawyers of Bisnar Chase take pride in their mission – to make sure every client gets the compensation and justice they deserve. But not every client starts out by hiring our experienced personal injury attorneys. When a client is looking for new representation or additional courtroom expertise, Bisnar Chase is also adept at stepping in to provide highly-effective last-minute trial lawyer services.
Bisnar Chase has an outstanding success rate, built on the skills of its dedicated attorneys. If your case is coming to trial and you need new or additional legal counsel, Bisnar Chase can step in to provide superior representation in the courtroom.
What is a Last-Minute Trial Attorney?
A last-minute trial attorney is a lawyer who steps in to take on a case which involves an impending trial.
They might replace a fired attorney, or join an existing legal team to add trial experience on relatively short notice.
This is not a service that every lawyer or firm offers. It requires a great deal of courtroom skill, as well as the resources to get up to speed at short notice.
It is important to note that the title of ‘last-minute trial attorney’ is slightly misleading. No lawyer can take over a case on the eve of the trial and expect to be successful. The best trial attorneys are well prepared and know the case better than anyone else.
Read on for a full rundown of the time frames that last-minute legal representation can operate under.
Why Do Clients Look for Last-Minute Trial Attorneys?
There can be a wide range of reasons for a client to hire a last-minute trial lawyer.
Changing lawyers for trial is not ideal. However, it could be the best course of action if the new attorney is a better fit for the client and their case.
In some situations, a client may decide that they need a different attorney to handle their case. Perhaps a client and lawyer experience a personality clash, or the client strongly disagrees with the attorney’s strategy. In other cases, a lawyer might have been unhelpful or non-responsive.
If an attorney switch is made before a trial, it can be as simple as firing one firm, requesting your case file, and handing it over to the replacement. If it is done during a trial, a notification must be filed to the court first.
In some cases, a client may not be looking for a change of lawyer at all. A California last-minute trial attorney may be sought by the current legal team if it has limited trial experience. If a legal team does not feel comfortable in going to trial, a more experienced trial lawyer could be brought in to take the lead in the courtroom. This is also a role that the personal injury trial lawyers at Bisnar Chase are comfortable in filling.
Can You Change Lawyers During a Trial?
It is rare for a client to change lawyers in the middle of a personal injury trial. However, it can happen.
For instance, if an attorney falls ill or is otherwise taken out of commission during a trial, a replacement may be brought in and allowed extra time to get up to speed. If this was the case, another lawyer may consider taking over. However, it is more likely that a judge would declare a mistrial in this scenario.
It is highly unlikely that Bisnar Chase would take over a case and step into a trial while it is already in progress. This would only happen in exceptional circumstances.
When is it Too Late to Hire a Last-Minute Trial Attorney?
Bringing in a late-stage case lawyer does not mean hiring someone on your way into the courtroom.
Some law firms might promise the ability to step into a personal injury trial at a moment’s notice and achieve positive results. The truth is that it will rarely work out like that. Even the best last-minute trial attorneys need time to prepare if they are to provide top-quality representation to the client.
So, how late is too late?
At Bisnar Chase, we look at each case carefully before deciding whether to take it on. As such, there are no ‘strict’ timelines – but we do have timeframe guidelines.
- Preferred – 90+ days until trial
- Probable – 60 days until trial
- Possible (heavily dependent on circumstance) – Within 30 days of trial
As always, the more time we are given to prepare before a trial, the better. However, we know that this is not always possible in the search for a last-minute trial lawyer.
The timeline will depend on a range of factors, such as how much work and pre-trial preparation has been done by the client’s previous representation. If thorough preparation has been done, our attorneys will need less time to get up to speed.
Some cases are also more complicated than others. The timeline will depend on how complex or technical the subject matter is, and how hard it is to prove damages and liability.
In most cases, at least 90 days is preferred for preparation before going to trial.
However, the last-minute trial attorneys of Bisnar Chase can handle most cases within a 60-day window of the trial. Some cases can even be taken on within 30 days of a trial.
It will always depend on the individual case.
What Does a Last-Minute Trial Attorney Do?
The role that last-minute lawyers play will depend on when they are brought in, and whether they will be the sole representation, or assisting another attorney.
Some of the details which go into preparing for a trial include:
- Learning the background of the case
- Developing opening and closing arguments
- Lining up evidence and exhibits showing liabilities and damages
- Preparing witnesses and cross-examinations
- And much more!
A huge amount of work goes into preparing an effective case for trial.
In the most extreme short-notice cases, it would be necessary for the previous or current legal team to have already arranged the witnesses and evidence needed for the trial. These things take time.
Even when you are working to a slightly longer timeframe, some of this trial preparation may have already been completed by the client’s previous legal representation. The new last-minute attorney will have to review the work, arrange for any evidentiary shortfalls to be filled, and ensure that they are ready to argue the case in court.
If the pre-trial prep has not been completed by the previous legal team, the new representation will have to handle it. That will mean they need more time before going to trial.
When a last-minute trial attorney joins forces with the existing team, it is expected that the preparation will be at an advanced stage. This scenario usually occurs when the current representation is good at preparing a case, but does not feel confident in achieving the best result possible at trial. Bringing a more experienced trial attorney onboard to assist can lead to a better result for the client.
Qualities of the Best Last-minute Trial Attorneys
The best last-minute trial lawyers excel in the courtroom. Quality courtroom representation is an art form – a great skill developed through experience. The best trial lawyers will:
- Be prepared. Planning and preparation are the keys to trial success. The best trial attorneys will know their case better than anyone else.
- Respect the court. Showing respect to the judge, jury and process is important and helps to project the right impression.
- Communicate well. It is important for a trial attorney to communicate with their client throughout a trial, as well as their legal support team. This is especially true when a last-minute trial lawyer has joined forces with another legal team which will have handled the majority of case preparation.
- Build a rapport. A good trial lawyer will have great people skills. They will build a rapport with the room and know how to speak to people, based on their past experience.
- Tell a story. The best trial lawyers are great storytellers. They know how to display a case in its best form, speaking clearly and concisely, while showing passion and authenticity.
Will Bisnar Chase Take Your Late-Notice Case?
There is no guarantee that Bisnar Chase will be able to take your case on short notice as the trial approaches.
Last-minute trial attorneys still need time to prepare. They also need to have the resources available to help. This means that the firm’s ability to take on a last-minute case is impacted by the other cases it has in progress at the time. A last-minute case gives no time for the firm to plan ahead.
This is why it is most common for Bisnar Chase’s personal injury lawyers to join forces with a current legal team to help them in the trial phase of the case. In these situations, the leg work and preparation will already have been completed, and the Bisnar Chase trial lawyers can provide the courtroom expertise that the client and their legal team need.
While Bisnar Chase cannot guarantee its services, the firm believes in helping people. If someone has a personal injury case due to the negligence of another party, we want to make sure they get the justice and compensation they deserve.
If we believe we have the opportunity to provide the client with superior representation, we will always strive to do so.
Bisnar Chase Can Provide Outstanding Last-Minute Representation
Bisnar Chase is made up of a team of exceptional California trial attorneys and staff. Through 40 years in business, our law firm has made a huge difference to the lives of our clients. We are proud of our 99% success rate and have a strong track record in courtrooms across California. We have also collected $650 million for our clients.
We strive to provide superior client representation and offer a ‘No Win, No Fee’ guarantee. This ensures that our services are open and accessible to everyone.
We know that monetary compensation is important, and give our clients the best chance possible of trial success. But we also put a focus on the experience and personal touch that we offer. The Bisnar Chase team will do everything possible to make the legal process smooth and stress-free for their clients.
Those in need of a last-minute trial attorney in California can contact Bisnar Chase now. Our lawyers have the skills necessary to step in at short notice and achieve excellent results for their clients. Call (800) 561-4887 for a free consultation.