The first-case jitters: How to survive the trials of kicking off your in-court career

This is what you went to law school for. Although you’ve been preparing for this for years, handling your first case and going to trial can be terrifying. Nearly every person you look to for advice will have plenty to give. Most will tell you to prepare, if not over-prepare. Even when you do all of the things that your mentors or peers suggest that you do, there can still lurk the shadow of doubt. Believe it or not, it’s alright if you’re nervous. It’s also reasonable to continually ask yourself whether the judge or the jury will see through you and if they take you seriously. Will you ask the right questions of the witnesses in court? Will the opposing counsel turn all of your hard work against you? Nearly all of these things can cause anxiety even among experienced attorneys, so rest assured, you’re not alone. Utah law professor Abigail Pittoff wrote in the Utah Law Review that, “To practice law is to be afraid. Show me a lawyer who is…

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