This entry will conclude our study of the third of the three basic component parts of a business lawsuit in Florida, which is the final phase that sees the resolution of the dispute. We have reviewed the pleadings and discovery phases and conducted a deeper dive into those phases. We have also analyzed direct settlements, mediation, and arbitration as mechanisms of resolving business disputes in whole or in part. Now we turn our attention to the most formal method of the trial.
Trials are governed by certain rules. As James Bond infamously said to Auric Goldfinger in the 1964 classic that bore his name, “strict rules of (golf) evidence and procedure, Goldfinger.” It is the function and obligation of your lawyer to know those Rules inside and out and to understand how to properly employ them in the trial. Florida Bar Board Certified business lawyers like David Steinfeld, who even served as past Chair of that Committee at the request of the Florida Bar President, have demonstrated to the Bar that they have sufficient experience in both jury and non-jury trials of business disputes, have passed a very comprehensive exam, and received approval from judges and fellow lawyers to be called experts in business trials.
Board Certified business lawyers are the cream of the crop in Florida and are experts in conducting trials, which is where the proverbial rubber meets the road in a business lawsuit. Such experience also permeates the entirety of the lawsuit and guides and structures all pre-trial phases. To draw a parallel, an educated doctor who has experience with certain operations is better than a doctor who has never performed an operation or has little experience in them, but knows a lot about the body. Unlike doctors, however, not all lawyers are board certified nor are they required to be in order to practice law; only those who have the experience and are deemed worthy by judges and other lawyers can even sit for the exam and not all who do so pass the exam.
Parties in the lawsuit can choose a judge or jury and do so early on in phase one. Thus, determining whether the case is appropriate for a judge or a jury is where actual trial experience is of great value to you or your business. Selecting the jurors, a process called voir dire, is also a critically important skill and can make or break the trial. A trial is like a play that runs one time for a very select audience. Knowing how to organize, manage, and produce that production is the hallmark of an experienced and accomplished attorney and one that you want to represent and stand by you or your business in trial.