Best Practices for Preparing Exhibits in Court

25th May 2021

Best Practices for Preparing Exhibits in Court

How do you preparing your exhibits in court? When going to trial, it's well-advised to follow best practices. Find out what they are today in our guide.

Are you a paralegal? Do you work with a law firm? If you're the one who must prepare exhibits in court, you have an important job.

Preparing exhibits in court is an essential part of the trial. This can influence the direction of the trial. There are practices you can use to present the evidence to the jury without major issues.

Read this guide to learn about the best practices that can help you prepare exhibits in court. You'll then know how to present exhibits in court.

Prepare Your Evidence

When preparing the exhibits, you need to address four areas. Review the relevance of the evidence. This process will help you determine if the exhibits prove the facts of the case.

Determine if the evidence can be authenticated. The last thing you want is for the attorney you work for to bring forth false evidence.

It's important to lay a foundation for admissibility. Think about logistical issues that may arise while introducing the evidence.

Your goal is to be proactive. Let's say you're planning to show a video in an exhibit. You'll need to bring in a monitor so the jury can watch the video. You don't want to be running around at the last minute to find what you need to present an exhibit.

Organize Your Exhibits

The second step you'll need to take to prepare exhibits in court is to organize your exhibits. You will start with a large number of documents, photos, and emails. Add this, text messages, physical objects, and audio.

Not every exhibit you have will be presented as evidence in the trial. Some of the documents may not be admissible in court. Only the items the court views as relevant to the trial can be marked as evidence.

Your job is to organize all the potential evidence. You must have it ready to take to court if the attorney wants to use it as evidence.

You'll need to put stickers on each exhibit that you believe can be used in the trial. Write "exhibit" on the stickers.

If you're planning on including videos as part of an exhibit, remember to make the necessary edits. Do copy them as well.

Make a typed transcription of the parts that you want to include as evidence. Seek professional help if you need it so you can avoid any issues.

You must create a master index of each exhibit. Include information such as the author and source, as well as the date and type of exhibit. Make sure to write a short description for each exhibit.

Create a list of the exhibits you plan to use in the trial. The court can provide you with a form you can use to list the exhibits. Do make sure to check with the clerk of court.

Copy Exhibits

Make at least three copies of each exhibit. The original exhibit will be part of the evidence. One copy will go to the attorney and the other two copies will go to the members of the opposing counsel.

Make sure to have the copies on hand. Place each copy in a folder. Don't forget that you'll be giving out the copies to other people at the trial.

When it's time to hand them out, there's no time to waste. You want to be on top of your game.

Electronic Documents

What happens if you have electronic documents? You may have to print them if you're planning on introducing them as exhibits in the trial.

You may have to e-file the exhibits. If the court allows you to file your exhibits electronically do so. You can do this along with the complaint or motion.

Prepare Cheat Sheets

You may be asking, "What do cheat sheets have to do with preparing exhibits in court?" Cheat sheets can make a valuable part of the process. Don't forget that you'll be handling thousands of documents, so you want to know where everything is.

Have a piece of paper with you or a legal pad where you can write the issues that each attorney will address at the trial. Match each issue with the exhibits and evidence that they'll need.

Double-check the cheat sheet with your master index to make sure you have everything in order. The cheat sheet shouldn't replace the master index. It should serve as a quick reference guide.

Depositions

For each deposition, you must have a sealed original master copy. This is the copy you have to enter into evidence. There will also be copies of the deposition that have certain pages tagged.

The Day of the Trial

On the day of the trial, you must be prepared to fulfill your role. Your preparation will help you to assist the attorney and present evidence.

There may be a chance that the attorney will ask you for something at the spur of the moment. In such a situation, don't panic. If you did a great job organizing exhibits, you'll know where everything is.

This is why you must mark every exhibit and organize them. You also want to have all the supplies you need to organize and present what you have. This includes folders, dividers, and file packets.

Preparing Exhibits in Court

This guide lists the best practices to help you learn how to file exhibits in court. If you apply these practices, you'll have success organizing and preparing the exhibits. You want to have everything ready when it's time to go to trial.

If you need to get more legal supplies make sure to contact us for all your needs.