People hear about medical malpractice trials where a jury awarded large sums of money. Some of these cases are sensationalized, and the reports tend to focus on the facts of the case. As they should. However, most reporting on medical negligence cases ignores the most important thing–all the hard work and preparation that went into the trial.

Whether the injured person is represented by one lawyer or several, trial preparation is a team effort. Lawyers, paralegals, secretaries, experts, and a whole cast of characters. Collectively, the team organizes all the information, prepares exhibits and demonstratives, and manages witnesses. But any successful trial lawyer will tell you that is not enough. More must be done to win medical malpractice trials.

Some successful trial lawyers will tell you that preparation for trial begins from the first day that the client walks through the door. While that is not true for all successful trial lawyers, a common thread is that the team works together developing and refining strategies. But, again, that is not enough.

You can have the greatest strategy, but if it is too complicated for the average person to understand then it is doomed to fail.  Most good trial lawyers take their strategies and infuse them with simple, easy-to-follow themes. I do not mean theme as in the tagline of your trial. You can, and should, have a short, compelling phrase that persuasively explains your case. However, you should also have simple themes that sound like commandments, which every person on a jury can agree with.

Almost all medical malpractice cases can include: Do no harm, Pay attention, Do not ignore alarms, Listen to all the evidence–which I like because it is included in our standard jury instructions, and Look before you cut. These are all simple, powerful ideas that are difficult to dispute. Your jurors will expect their health care providers to follow these commandments.

Brilliant taglines and powerful themes are not going to win medical malpractice trials, but they are vital components every successful trial lawyer incorporates into their cases.