Behind The Trial A podcast series featuring in-depth discussions with the nation’s most iconic trial lawyers

How do the most celebrated trial lawyers of our generation convince 12 strangers? What are their secrets of persuasion and tricks of the trade? "Behind the Trial" will take you to the front lines and reveal how it all works when lives, fortunes, and reputations hang in the balance.

Presented by "Benchmark Litigation" in association with McKool Smith, the Behind the Trial podcast series features in-depth discussions with the nation's most iconic trial lawyers.

Behind the Trial captures the unique voice and style of each trial star by covering their best practices for presenting to a jury or judge, pitfalls to avoid, and the art of persuasion.

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Episode 9

Beth Wilkinson - Wilkinson Walsh + Eskovitz

Episode 09 of Behind the Trial, co-presented by the trial firm of McKool Smith and Benchmark Litigation, features an interview with Beth Wilkinson one of the most accomplished trial lawyers the country. Beth began her legal career in the United States Army's Judge Advocate General Corps and continued her pubic service in the US Department of Justice. First as Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Beth eventually became principal deputy of the Department's Terrorism and Violent Crime Section where she successfully prosecuted the Oklahoma City bombers. She was awarded the Attorney General’s Exceptional Service Award on two separate occasions, an unprecedented accomplishment. Beth is a frequent speaker and has received accolades for her work as a litigator in high-stakes matters representing companies such as Pfizer, Bayer, Major League Baseball, Philip Morris, and Microsoft. Beth has been named to Benchmark Litigation’s annual Top 100 Trial Lawyers and Top 10 Women in Litigation on multiple occasions.

Episode 8

Gary Naftalis – Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel

In episode 8 of Behind the Trial, we speak to giant of the trial bar,Gary Naftalis. Gary heads the litigation department and serves as firm Co-Chairman at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel in New York. Known for his defense work on high stakes civil, criminal and regulatory matters, Gary went Behind the Trial to share the secrets of his success in the courtroom. Recognized by countless publications for his skills as a trial lawyer Gary received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Benchmark Litigation in 2014. In this interview, Gary explains how authenticity is the key to success in jury trials and promotes pro bono work as a way to gain experience for younger litigators. He also says that the decline of jury trials in America is bad for the country, and something we should all be worried about as good citizens.

Episode 7

Diane Sullivan – Weil, Gotshal & Manges

Join us on Episode 07 of Behind the Trial to hear our conversation with Diane Sullivan of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. Diane is one of the most prominent trial lawyers in the United States, having secured defense verdicts in high stakes trials for clients such as Johnson & Johnson, ESPN, GE, Merck, and Philip Morris, among others. Diane went Behind the Trial to share her unique experience arguing cases on behalf of pharmaceutical companies in product liability and antitrust matters. She reminisced about her upbringing in New Jersey, where competitive sports helped prepare her for the courtroom and taught her the importance of winning...and losing. Diane also dived deeper on a variety of topics including the underrepresentation of women in the trial bar, the use of mock trials in shaping strategy, and the decline of the jury trial in America. In this episode of Behind the Trial, learn how Alice in Wonderland images played a role in one of Diane’s high profile wins, the importance of being 'within striking distance' before closing argument, and how Grey's Anatomy brought her team together during late nights prepping for trial.

Episode 6

Judge William Alsup - Northern District of California

Episode 06 of Behind the Trial features an interview with United States District Judge William Alsup of the Northern District of California. Nominated to the federal bench by President Bill Clinton in 1999, Judge Alsup has presided over newsworthy cases such as Oracle v Google and Waymo v Uber. He has ruled in high profile matters challenging the federal government’s authority, including a due process judgement in Ibrahim vs. Department of Homeland Security et al and one that halted the Trump Administration’s cancellation of DACA pending further judicial action. Before becoming a judge, Alsup clerked for William O. Douglas of the US Supreme Court and practiced law as a trial lawyer for 26 years. Judge Alsup went Behind the Trial to provide insight about his innovations in the courtroom, his faith in the jury system, and how establishing a sense of fairness is the key to winning a jury trial. He also tells us why likeability is an overrated quality for trial lawyers and why cross examinations are the most important elements of a trial.

Episode 5 (2 of 2)

David Boies - Boies Schiller Flexner

Join us for part two of our interview with iconic trial lawyer David Boies, Chairman of Boies Schiller Flexner, as he goes Behind the Trial with Courtland Reichman to discuss how to deal with morality plays, preloaded conceptions of the jury, the use of jury consultants, and other best practices in the courtroom. David has handled some of the nation’s biggest cases and trials, including representing Vice President Al Gore in Bush v. Gore, and the plaintiffs in a case that led to California’s ban on same-sex marriage being overturned. He has also been named one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World” by Time magazine. David went Behind the Trial to discuss the current state of trial practice along with the importance of an effective narrative and the power of cross-examination, among other trial tactics. He also discusses some of the nuances and key factors involved in his representation of IBM in what was then the largest antitrust case in history.

Episode 4 (1 of 2)

David Boies - Boies Schiller Flexner

Episode 04 of Behind the Trial features iconic trial lawyer David Boies , Chairman of Boies Schiller Flexner. David has handled some of the nation’s biggest cases and trials, including representing Vice President Al Gore in Bush v. Gore, and the plaintiffs in a case that led to California’s ban on same-sex marriage being overturned. He has also been named one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World” by Time magazine. David went Behind the Trial to discuss the current state of trial practice along with the importance of an effective narrative and the power of cross-examination, among other trial tactics. He also discusses some of the nuances and key factors involved in his representation of IBM in what was then the largest antitrust case in history..

Episode 3

Elkan Abramowitz - Morvillo Abramowitz

Episode 3 of Behind the Trial features Elkan Abramowitz of Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello PC, one of the nation’s leading trial lawyers and a giant in the white collar defense bar. As a prosecutor, criminal defense lawyer, civil trial lawyer, Elkan has seen it all. Elkan went Behind the Trial to discuss best practices in the courtroom, pitfalls to avoid, and his high-profile representation of Steven Davis, former Chairman of Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP, in a trial that captivated the entire legal industry. Elkan has been recognized as the Benchmark Litigation “Trial Lawyer of the Year” and received the Milton S. Gould Award for Outstanding Oral Advocacy presented by the Office of the Appellate Defender. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and a former director of the New York Council of Defense Lawyers.

Episode 2

Evan Chesler (part 2) - Cravath, Swaine & Moore

Our second episode features part 2 of our conversation with Evan R. Chesler, Chairman of Cravath and one of the nation’s most accomplished trial lawyers. Evan went Behind the Trial to discuss the significance of the jury trial to American democracy, the limits and pitfalls of using humor in the courtroom, the importance of maintaining your credibility with a jury, and how to explain it all to a room full of 6th graders! Evan’s clients include a who’s who of the Fortune 500 from IBM, Time Warner, and Novartis to Alcoa, Xerox, and American Express among others. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, Chairman of the Trustees of the New York Library, and Adjunct Professor at NYU School of Law.

Episode 1

Evan Chesler (part 2) - Cravath, Swaine & Moore

Episode 1 features Evan R. Chesler, Chairman of Cravath and one of the nation’s most accomplished trial lawyers. Evan went Behind the Trial to discuss the keys of persuasion, common traits of an effective trial lawyer, the significance of the “people factor,” and how versatility is critical in the courtroom (and he was just getting started). Evan’s clients include a who’s who of the Fortune 500 from IBM, Time Warner, and Novartis to Alcoa, Xerox, and American Express among others. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, Chairman of the Trustees of the New York Library, and Adjunct Professor at NYU School of Law.

Episode 0

Introduction/preview

Welcome to "Behind The Trial," a podcast series presented by Benchmark Litigation in association with McKool Smith. Hosted by trial lawyer Courtland Reichman, the series will capture the unique voice and style of each trial star, and bring them to life during candid discussions about their greatest courtroom war stories, lessons learned, best practices, pitfalls to avoid, and their personal perspective on all things related to trying and winning cases. The purpose of the series is to underscore the important role that trial lawyers and juries play in shaping the legal landscape, and society as a whole.


Upcoming Episodes...


Diane Sullivan - Weil Gotshal

Diane P. Sullivan is a partner in the Litigation Department in Weil’s New York, NY and Princeton, NJ offices where she specializes in trial of complex commercial litigation, class action, and mass tort cases. More...

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