The Things We Carry


For trial, I have a collapsible wheeled file box (like one of these, but I have a cheap generic one from OfficeMaxDepot). When I’m not in trial mode, the box folds up and stores under the couch in my office. When I am in trial mode, the box expands to about 13.5″W X 12.5″L X 13″D — big enough to hold several large 3-ring binders, my code book, my laptop and its charger brick, a couple of low-carb meal replacement bars, and a plastic box for small supplies.

In the smaller box you’ll generally find:

  • Exhibit stickers.
  • Highlighters.
  • Markers.
  • Pens.
  • DVI to VGA converter (for hooking my MacBook Pro to the courtroom display).
  • Listerine breath strips.
  • Verizon Wireless Broadband adaptor.
  • Hand wipes.
  • Post-it notes.

What do you carry with you to trial?


0 responses to “The Things We Carry”

  1. As little as possible. A few extra pads, a few highlighters in different colors, post-its in different sizes, extra manilla files and peppermint lifesavers.

    I carry it all in my old trial bag without wheels. If I can’t carry it, it doesn’t come. I only carry my laptop when absolutely necessary.

  2. I carry my laptop, my annotated ohio rules of evidence handbook, trial notebooks, highlighters, three legal pads (two for me, and one for my client) and assorted pens. I don’t usually have to carry exhibit stickers because the judge in courtroom I am most often in wants the court reporter to label the exhibits

  3. I’m surprised Greenfield doesn’t go old school in this category. Something like one legal pad, one pen, and a sheet of exhibit stickers stuck in a bespoke suit pocket.

    As for me, it usually includes trial notebook, secondary file, the trusty MacBook Pro with remote, exhibit stickers, extra legal pad and pen for my client and my iPod.

    That will all usually fit into my briefcase. Although I have been called the Carrot Top of the Courtroom for using so many props, but that hasn’t happened in a long time.

  4. Mark:
    You look like a civil lawyer with that wheelie thing! I carry one over-sized briefcase. But I also carry my projector for use with my Keynote presentations, and my “lunch box” with my sandwiches and Advil.

    sg

  5. Well, YS, I thought I was old school. I only carry the extra legal pads because I give one to my client to make him look like there’s a reason he’s sitting there, and an extra for me when I forget where I put the first one.

    As to the different color highlighters, it’s because my eyesight isn’t what it used to be. Eyesight is the 27th thing to go, ya know.

  6. I am also a minimalist. No laptop, no electronics. I carry an old-fashioned briefcase with my case file, two legal pads, a sheet of exhibit stickers, pens (red and blue), highlighters, a courtroom evidence handbook, and a paperback novel to read while the jury is deliberating.

    I don’t use a trial notebook – I use folders, one for each witness, one with pleadings and filings, and one with cases and statutes for arguments.

  7. I haven’t the trial experience to try to throw a laptop into the mix. I have an over sized brief case in which I keep my evidence and statute book, a three ring notebook breaking down the case, two pads of paper a pack of color pens and my breath mints.

    Should I have more??

  8. Trial binder (I like bindertek), highlighter, legal pads (at least one with prepunched holes), blue and black pens, statute book and evidence book. I am a PD so my office is in the same building

  9. I’m a public defender, so they give us one pencil and a sheet of paper.

    In all seriousness, the usual: the entire file, trial notebook (binder), extra copies of stuff, a pad, pens (one for the client), statute book, practice book.

    Exhibits here are labeled in a more modern way – the clerks do it.

  10. I take no less than
    (A) 3 copies of all documents in the case one in my trial notebook, one for an exhibit and one because I will always lose a copy or my client will want one.
    (B) quick sugar item such (apples, oranges, cliff bars, etc),
    (C) standard office suppliespens, paper (including notepad for client), etc.
    (D) I also try to hide a few copies of the statutes and rules in the courtroom before hand, if not it goes in one of my boxes.
    (E) My trial notebook has my chapters, openings, themes, closings (incl. an emergency standard closing in case the case moves too fast), & jury instructions.
    (F) I also try to have a laser pointer or old fashion pointer and oversized markers ready if not in the court room.
    (G) in my suit jacket pocket I keep an outline of my opening, closing (if possible) and all points on which I will cross (I use a version of the Larry Posner chapter method and put all my chapter headings on a sheet of paper and/or index card.
    (H) Finally, I try to bring in a fancy looking coffee mug (normally one from the scotus) with a bottle or two of water.

    Hi tech toys don’t work that well in the blue collar communities where I usually try cases.

    I liked the idea of breath mints

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