Trial Notebook to the Rescue

We’ve all been there. 

Something unexpected happens, and you are asked to jump in at the last minute to help another team get ready for trial on a case you’ve never worked on before. 

Or you take over a case from a former paralegal who is no longer at the firm – and you are now the lead paralegal on a case that is going to trial next month and you have never worked on the case before today.

This task may seem daunting and overwhelming at first, but whether you are a new paralegal or merely a paralegal new to the case, this will give you a roadmap for navigating the path to success.

Get the Ultimate Guide to Preparing a Trial Notebook


Download the Guide  and start preparing your Trial Notebook (a/k/a Trial Binder!) early in the case instead of waiting until you receive the Notice of Trial.

trial notebook template


Last-Minute Trial Prep with a Trial Notebook


As the lead paralegal, you will need to make a judgment call and decide on the critical projects that need to be done because you simply do not have enough hours in the day to do everything you would normally do to prepare for trial.

When you do not have the luxury of time, there are some things you can do to get up to speed quickly on the case while simultaneously preparing for the upcoming trial.

The most important role of a litigation paralegal during a trial is to organize and manage the evidence throughout the trial prep phase and in the courtroom. With that in mind, you can utilize building the Trial Binder as your “multitasking tool” to quickly get up to speed on the case in addition to its main purpose of keeping the trial team organized.

The best method for organizing the contents of a Trial Notebook is to follow the natural progression of the trial. As you work on each section, you will get up to speed on the case and get ready for trial at the same time.  


While you are assembling this section, instead of just gathering the pleadings and discovery and putting them into the notebooks, you can identify and extract key names into a Players List and key dates into a Case Chronology. 

The Players List can easily become your draft witness list. The “Case Chronology” can be used to identify additional trial exhibits, and it can also be helpful for creating timelines and other demonstrative aids for use at trial. 

This is one one the proactive case management tips in the 3-Step Case Management Tip to be proactive in managing your litigation cases.


Discussing Trial Notebooks

Take Your Learning to the Next Level

Trial Prep Boot Camp

Getting ready for trial is stressful and rewarding at the same time.

What if your next trial didn’t involve 14-hour work days?

We’ll show you to be so prepared for your next trial that you will actually enjoy going to trial…even if you work for the Master of Procrastination!

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Are you still waiting for on-the-job training that takes you through the lifecycle of a litigation case and shows you what it is you can be doing?

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This is the only program of its kind that provides you with all of the tools to master your litigation cases, from the complaint through the trial, and everything in between.

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