Essentials of Trial Practice: Your First Trial (On Demand Seminar)

MCLE Credits: 2.0
Ethics Credits Included: 0.0

MCLE Credit: 2.0 (Ethics: 0.0)
Live-Interactive Credit: 0.0
Designation Credit: 2.0 Trial Practice/Litigation (Designations Information)
Price: $149 (Includes a downloadable audio version.)
Viewable Through: 02/28/2023


A pre-recorded streaming video replay of the February 2020 webcast, Essentials of Trial Practice: Your First Trial.

Course Outline

  • Make your first—or next—trial as good as it can be
  • Revisit the basics: you can run better when you know how to walk
  • Share tips and best practices

What You Need to Know to Survive

Maybe your first trial is coming up, and you could benefit from some guidance on how best to perform. Or maybe your first trial is already long behind you and you want your next trial to be even better. In either case, this seminar will deliver.

This candid discussion with two of Virginia’s top litigators will prepare you for trial. Expert insight will help you sharpen your trial skills and minimize your jitters so you can confidently and successfully tackle your next case.

The seminar will address a variety of trial tactics and will provide practical, hands-on solutions to improve all aspects of your performance in the courtroom. Avoid embarrassing snafus, refine your presentation, and convince the judge that your client should prevail. This efficient training session will ensure that you conduct yourself like a veteran attorney.

Among the topics covered:

  • Voir dire and jury research as your first opportunity to introduce your case
  • Opening statements and themes for your case
  • Letting your witnesses tell their story through direct examination
  • Cross-examination tips and how to impeach a witness
  • Closing with confidence
  • The importance of jury instructions
  • Trial-related motions: motions in limine; motions to strike
  • Always have a spare shirt, and other trial practice pointers
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James F. Neale, McGuireWoods LLP / Charlottesville
M. Bryan Slaughter, MichieHamlett / Charlottesville


James F. Neale, McGuireWoods LLP / Charlottesville
James Neale’s varied trial practice focuses on high-exposure tort cases in courts across the country.  His trial experience includes personal injury, nuisance, products liability, insurance coverage, premises liability, transportation, pharmaceutical, and right-of-publicity cases.  He has won verdicts in state and federal courts in Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Maryland, Delaware, and California.  In addition, Mr. Neale has defended clients in a variety of other adversarial arenas, including high-exposure cases before the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation and numerous arbitration panels. He has briefed and argued appeals to the Virginia Supreme Court, the California Court of Appeals, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th and the 11th Circuits, and the full Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission.

M. Bryan Slaughter, MichieHamlett / Charlottesville
Bryan Slaughter concentrates his practice on cases involving catastrophic personal injury or wrongful death.  His practice areas include products liability, serious automobile and truck accidents, premises liability, and medical malpractice.  He is a member of the Virginia and West Virginia state bars.  He practices throughout Virginia, although he has tried cases throughout the region.  Mr. Slaughter graduated from the University of Virginia in 1991, and the Washington and Lee University School of Law in 1997.  He has served on the Board of Governors for the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association since 2001, and he is a past president of that organization.  He is a member of the Boyd-Graves conference, is a faculty member at the National Trial Advocacy College, and has lectured and written on various topics involving products liability and personal injury law. Mr. Slaughter is particularly interested in pro bono service and access to justice issues, and in that regard serves on the Virginia Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission.

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