I recently had the opportunity to observe preeminent trial attorneys defend a high-profile client in a notorious dispute. Though the arbitration itself was confidential, the story leading to this particular case is infamous. The client was fortunate to have a team of four trial attorneys, fearlessly led by John Quinn and Michael Williams, who ingeniously advocated on its behalf. My week of AAIT started as the first week of arbitration was coming to a close and the team was ramping up for the second week. Within hours of the first week’s end I was given assignments that allowed me to delve into the facts of this case– from creating compilations of key deposition testimony to reviewing documents that would be used as evidence the very next day, the team let me jump right in.
In addition to a key percipient witness, three experts and two other percipient witnesses were called to testify during my week of AAIT. Not only was I able to watch these expert witnesses testify at the arbitration, but I was also given the opportunity to assist in their preparation. Both Noah Helpern and Alex Bergjans, an Of Counsel and associate in the Los Angeles office, allowed me to watch as they skillfully prepared their respective witnesses. These two artfully addressed the witness’ concerns and calmed their nerves. Then, once at the arbitration, I watched both Noah and Alex elicit testimony from these witnesses with an unmatched ease. Seeing what goes into witness preparation made me appreciate the agility that each of member of the QE team impressively implemented when adapting to answers and cross examination questions that came up during the testimony.
This ability to immediately adjust and creatively refute each of opposing counsel’s seemingly promising arguments is what I found most impressive. Twice during cross examination of our witnesses I thought that opposing counsel may have snuck in a point that strengthened their case; and twice, through re-direct examination quickly crafted by John and Michael, these points were invalidated. From each member of the team, I learned the dexterity and skill that goes into effective lawyering.
Thank you all again for this invaluable and unforgettable opportunity!
In February and March 2018, I was glad to serve as the AAIT for an arbitration hearing in Canada. Our QE team comprised of Tai-Heng Cheng, Dominic Surprenant, Paul Slattery, Adam DiClemente, and Mike Guisinger. We represented a foreign yarn manufacturer in contract and antitrust claims.
During the complicated six-day hearing, involving nearly two dozen witnesses, I saw firsthand the diverse skill sets that QE lawyers successfully employ. Despite my short involvement as an AAIT in this case, the team included me in every meeting, and gave me many tasks and opportunities.
We often burnt the midnight oil. Among other things, I had the privilege of preparing hearing materials, working on presentation slides, doing legal and factual research, attending the hearings, and even second-chairing a few examinations. I saw the team prepare opening and closing statements, prepare witnesses for examination, and offer sound strategic advice at every stage of the hearing. I was able to meet the clients and experts multiple times, and learnt firsthand how partners and associates work together to handle nervous clients and witnesses.
The six-day hearing was both educational and exciting. I was glad to work with such a fine team. AAIT was a great learning experience, and I am grateful for this program and opportunity.