National Trial Counsel—A Necessary Ingredient for Major Litigation
The first essential ingredient is a team of top-notch litigation attorneys. Often completed by associates or senior counsel, these attorneys handle the day-to-day business of pre-trial tasks, including briefing, motion practice, discovery disputes, as well as depositions and expert work. Because plunging into the complex legal issues of a large case and emerging with thoughtful arguments and persuasive briefs is such a demanding job, a stable of bright attorneys at the ready is a must. At Hilgers Graben, we have recruited these kinds of attorneys from big firms around the country.
The second invaluable ingredient is the capacity to handle large-scale discovery. Large cases often require massive resources in discovery. A typical large case may implicate dozens of fact custodians, each of whom may need to be interviewed, deposed, and subjected to document review. Add in significant third-party subpoena work, along with an analysis of the opposing side’s produced documents, and the result is a long to-do list of document synthesis, timeline generation and privilege log creation, which collectively can overwhelm a firm that does not have the resources. The Hilgers Graben Edge discovery team—with dozens of lawyers battle-tested on some of the most difficult cases in the country—routinely tackles discovery tasks that otherwise could be cripplingly resource-intensive.
The third ingredient, perhaps the most critical, is a stand-up trial lawyer who can present the case to a trier of fact. At trial, all the work undertaken for a case needs to be digested and presented to a jury, a judge, or arbiters. Hundreds of thousands of documents must be pared down to a small set of trial exhibits. Endless reels of deposition testimony and countless litigation issues have to be distilled into winning themes. Moreover, elite trial lawyers are expected to be nimble in court, have strong oral advocacy abilities, expert understanding of the trial rules (and the art of when to apply them, including when to object), so that they can make sound, real-time judgment calls under the bright lights of trial.
Because of these demands, elite trial lawyers are hard to come by,especially in this modern era when cases rarely go to trial.
At Hilgers Graben, we have an abundance of attorneys with stand-up experience in court. Those attorneys include experienced trial lawyers across the firm, attorneys who have been to trial, stood up in court, and won for their clients. And among that group is the firm’s National Trial Counsel—attorneys who have repeatedly demonstrated the ability to excel under the demands of a high-stakes trial.
Between them, these National Trial Counsel possess significant trial experience. They have defended nine-figure cases. They have presented cases to juries relating to a diverse set of industries, including product liability cases, intellectual property cases, and medical device-related cases. They have been in state court, in federal court, and in arbitration. They have taken on cases from beginning to end, from coast to coast.
These leaders are:
- Alec Schultz, based in Miami. Alec has tried six civil cases to final judgment in both a first-chair capacity and as part of a trial team, recovering in excess of $100 million globally. Alec has been part of trial teams on major products liability cases and has been in front of triers of fact around the country.
- Alice LaCour, based in Alabama, has appeared in federal district courts from Alaska to New York. She has tried jury and bench trials to verdict in both civil and criminal cases. Her trial experience spans a vast array of practice areas, including the prosecution of sophisticated criminal cases.
- Grant Schmidt, based in Dallas, has tried over a dozen trials to verdict–handling jury selection, opening statements, closing arguments, and key witness examinations – in both federal and state court. These trials range from major intellectual property cases to white collar defense.
- Mike Merriman, based in San Diego, has tried over a dozen cases across the country either as first-chair or as a member of the trial team. Mike is no stranger to high-exposure cases and has experience in a variety of different industries, including energy, health care, and media.
Working with the litigation team and the Edge discovery group at Hilgers Graben, as well as other battle-tested trial lawyers across the firm, our National Trial Counsel team can handle cases large and small for major institutions and companies. We are proud to have this team on board and excited to put their premium skill set at the disposal of our clients.