Right now, I'm prepping a trial. I am always prepping some trial.
I would say that maybe one percent of my cases go to trial. Maybe less. I can usually get a good sense, early on, which cases might possibly go to trial. A small percentage of those actually do.
I think that is a big skill that you "learn as you go" in a public defender's office. You can save a lot of time if you can learn to identify only those cases that might actually go, and triage your cases accordingly.
But even then, it's always uncertain, so you always have two options: (a) be cautious, prep everything, knowing you're probably wasting your time or (b) throw caution to the wind, and "wing it" if the trial actually starts. I choose option a.
Which means that I am always prepping some trial. So, this weekend, you'll find me on my couch, laptop on my lap, and cross-examination questions across the screen. Well, except when I'm stopping to write a little blog post.
Wish me luck!