Most trials are grueling physical and intellectual exercises that end with unhappy people. And with most modern lawyers failing to hydrate properly throughout those trials, dehydration makes the unhappiness worse. Even a one-day trial can diminish a lawyer’s water stores and retention, and a chronic lack of proper hydration can lead to a decrease in performance, cognitive function, and alertness. Luckily, we have some tips for maintaining proper hydration during your next trial.
First, while a normal human is made up of approximately 60 percent water, lawyers’ remarkably active and detailed parasympathetic nervous systems diminish their water-to-solid ratio to 53 percent, with the 7 percent “gap” replaced by kryllic bile, phlegm, and so-called low-level intra-body mercury emissions. Your job as a trial lawyer is to keep your hydration level at or above the 60 percent marker— not only by avoiding phlegm prior to trial but also maintaining proper hydration techniques during trial.
Monitor Urine Color During Trial
One indicator of improper trial hydration is the colour of your urine. Ideally, urine should be pale yellow or “straw-coloured.” If your urine becomes tawny, fulvous, or turns “That 70’s Color” of yellow, it’s a good sign you are dehydrated. Keep a Urine Colour Chart handy on counsel table and, during trial, ask the court for a quick recess to check your urine colour. Chances are, opposing counsel and the court will also be checking their urine colours.
Use Cutting-Edge Hydration Gear
Like most technical things, proper hydration depends on buying expensive gear at REI or Dick’s Sporting Goods. While you can wear a hydration belt and holster two small bottles, our experience has been mixed with this approach. First, the belt and bottle create unsightly bulges in the buttocks area of your suit coat or jacket. Second, we’ve had some trouble with bottle release from the belt, which can be awkward during an intense cross-examination of a witness. You don’t want to be fiddling with a hydration belt during key moments of trial. Ditto for hydration vests—they are also unnecessarily bulky and lack adequate quick bottle release. That’s why we recommend a hydration pack worn discreetly under your jacket or blouse. Some models to consider:
- Camelbak Thermobak 100oz Mil-Spec Tactical Hydration Pack This one has a huge 100 ounce bladder (that’s about 3 liters!), which could technically get you through two days of trial without having to fill it back up. Plus, it is military-spec, has the word “tactical” in its product title, and does not audibly slosh, even when you stand up suddenly to register a strong objection at trial. Nice.
- Camelbak Women’s Magic Hydration Backpack.With a women’s specific S-shape shoulder harness and a Velvetex lining, this is the best choice for most female litigators or petite jurists. But it’s not chintzy, holding up to 70 ounces. Plus, the bite valve is easy to locate and use, making it a snap to suck down a few sips during a pause in your closing argument. What makes it “Magic?” We’re not actually sure, but it could be the snazzy sparkly pink color.
- Geigerrig Hydration Engine.While not exactly a hydration pack, the Geigerrig Hydration Engine is a well-constructed hydration bladder that uses pressure to deliver water. Putting it in your briefcase, staple it to the edge of counsel table, or keep it strapped to your inner thigh. A few pumps on the pressure bulb and you are good to go, though for obvious reasons we do not recommend having the pressure bulb hidden in your pants, as it could confuse jurors as you pump away to pressurize your bladder. Bonus: the Geigerrig is considered bomb-proof, an appealing option for the more active or excitable trial lawyer—there’s not much worse than a burst hydration pack at trial.
Avoid Tacky Hydration Techniques
While popular among many lawyers, a Big Gulp full of Dr. Pepper on counsel table is a less-than-optimal hydration technique. First, it is awkward to pick up an 14 pound plastic mug and swig from it discreetly during trial. We’ve also found that, when distracted by trial proceedings, a lawyer’s use of a Big Gulp contributes to secondary chin “dribble” that may drip on clothes or important trial exhibits. Second, with some exceptions, post-trial juror surveys often indicate that a lawyer’s use of a Big Gulp at trial was “distracting,” “unprofessional,” and “contributed to a general sense of untrustworthiness.” Avoid.
Load Up on Lexorade® Before Trial
With its optimized mix of electrolytes, micro-ground organic chia seeds and oat bran, plus added sustainable deep-see fish oil, Lexorade® provides all the hydration needs for trial lawyers. While expensive at 18 cents per ounce (roughly three times the cost of more traditional Gatorade), lawyers who use Lexorade swear by its power to hydrate and to increase cognitive function at trial. Next time you are headed to court, consider pre-trial Lexorade® loading to extend your hydration and to avoid a common problem of hamstring or calf cramps at trial, signs that your electrolytes are way off-kilter.