The June issue of the American Association of Justice Trial magazine has an outstanding collection of articles about the trial practice by a variety of great trial lawyers and trial consultants including Mark Lanier, Gerry Spence, Rick Friedman, David Ball and Randi McGinn plus other greats as well. I’m going to outline just a few of the ideas from these articles.
- David Ball recommends reminding jurors of key points they will need during deliberations. He calls it “arming the jurors.” For example, “In deliberations, you’ll need to explain to each other how you feel about the case. My job is to provide what you will need to do that. Let me start by telling you who we are suing and why..” During direct examination do the same, for example, “Dr. Adams, the jurors will need to use this in deliberations so how would you explain it to them in non medical terms?”
- Lisa Blue and Robert Hirschhorn suggest that in voir dire you should ask the panel “Q. If a loved one of yours was severely injured or killed due to negligence of another would you sue?” And, “Q. what is the name of one person, living or dead, whom you admire or respect most?”
- Howard Nations does a great job of explaining attribution which is such an important concept. There are different kinds of attribution. For example, the jurors might have defensive attribution: “I’d never do that and I wouldn’t have been injured like this plaintiff.”
- Gregory Cusimano discussed the role of morals, mores and beliefs in trial. He explains the “automatic decision making process” we all have. When basic moral values are offended jurors punish the wrongdoer. He recommends facts which remove plaintiff from the stereotype of someone trying to get rich and which make jurors empahathize with plaintiff while making the defendant look uncaring.
- Paul Scepter says the more jurors are morally outraged, the more harm they perceive has been done and the more punishment they feel is necessary to counter that harm
- Robyn Wishart writes that jurors come to court with their own life experiences which they use to interpret the evidence. We need to use images, exhibits to create a shared common experience and avoid different interpretations.
- Randi McGinn avocates teaching through stories and gives examples of how to do that well.
- John Romano covers “the sins of anti persuasion” such as overcomplicating the story, failing to make a point and over repetition.
- William Bailey explains why storytelling is so powerful.
- Mark Mandell outlines the power of framing and the importance of issues he calls “I just can’t get over” the fac that… issues in the case.
- Mark Lanier discusses the need for us to set priorities in our lives and our work for proper life balance.
- Rick Friedman discusses fear of losing created by comparing ourselves to others and why it is illogical to make such comparisons.
- Gerry Spence discusses fear and the fear of failure which he argues are a gift by opening the gate to growth
This is an issue you should read, index and keep as a valuable summary of important principles of trial.