Trial lawyers try cases. They command the courtroom, dazzle juries and disdain the commonplace “litigator.” Having recently tried a jury case, I was reminded of the trial lawyer’s standard recipe for success: well-prepared cross-examination mixed with a healthy dash of theatre. As much fun as that can be, I left the courtroom with renewed respect for the litigator’s decisions made outside the courtroom—in particular, decisions about what motions in limine to file. For despite a successful cross-examination of the plaintiff, it was the motions in limine that really shaped, and helped win, the case. A look at this case illustrates the value of careful planning.
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