Jim Wagstaffe. Photo: Jason Doiy/ALM

Tell us about your biggest trial win from January 2016 to July 2017 and how you achieved the result for your client.

Sandy Wadler was general counsel for Bio-Rad Laboratories, a billion-dollar life science company. He uncovered activities in China raising a serious specter of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations. Corporate executives not only ignored his whistleblower pleas, they fired him after 25 years of service. In January 2017, I tried a multiweek jury trial in federal court resulting in a $14.6 million judgment. Our story — a dedicated general counsel acting as whistleblower — carried the day. It sure didn’t hurt that the metadata mined from the purported negative employee review revealed it was concocted two months after the firing and post-dated to make it look real. Cross-examination of the CEO and HR director helped the jury understand our story was the truth.

Share two trial tips that have been key to your success.

1) Don’t ignore the other side’s “good” facts. Be a tai chi artist — transform their supposed strength into your strength by incorporating the facts to support your case theme.

2) Make witnesses likable: Spend time with your main witnesses offline. Get to know them. Then bring out their likable qualities at trial. This goes a long way [toward] winning. — Jim Wagstaffe