Don Keenan has been my friend for 25 years. We are both past presidents of the inner circle of advocates, one of the nations most prestigious plaintiff trial organizations. We have also shared a lot of ideas about plaintiff trial work. I listen to what he has to say. One of the reasons that I have placed on lot of credibility in Don is he has always been on the cutting edge of communication and persuasion. Like me, he has a curiosity about what works and what doesn’t in our profession. In addition, I agree with him about most things relating to plaintiff’s trial work and in particular human decision-making.
Don’s numerous awards, honors, professional accomplishments and significant cases are too numerous to list here. The highlights include the fact he has appeared on every major national news program, received most of the significant awards for professional and community work and has served as an officer or president of the most significant trial organizations. His record of million-dollar verdicts and settlements stands alone.
His popular blog, the Keenan trial blog: ,http://www.keenantrialblog.com/ is a must read for those of us who are trying to improve our trial skills. Don has now published a second collection of selected blog publications in: “The Keenan Edge 2.” This book is available at the special price of $63.75 For more information see: http://www.shop.reptilekeenanball.com/products/the-keenan-edge-2-pre-order.html
By way of the disclaimer I should point out that Don was kind enough to include a couple of contributions I made to his blog, but I have no financial interest in it. The reason you should be familiar with this book is because it has leading edge information about what works for us doing plaintiffs trial work. It won’t substitute for attending one of the many seminars he and David Ball put on regarding witness preparation, discovery or trial, but it is an excellent collection of great communication and trial ideas.
As an example, there is a section in the book about something I feel passionate about. That is my belief it is to prove not just negligence but motive. A trial is a battle of impression and not logic. As Don says in law school you were taught that if you could prove liability causation and damages you won. He writes:
“If you could establish all three, then “shazam!” Like Gomer Pyle, a plaintiff’s verdict would certainly appear.”
Nothing could be farther from reality. Only uninformed lawyers and mediocre judges believe that anymore. Yet that’s what we were taught as law students and what is believed by plaintiff lawyers for too many years. As Don puts it: “every case must have a MOTIVE unless the case surrounding the defense is substantiated by outrageous facts or you have an unlikable defendant.”
Don and I also agree about something that not everyone would join us in agreement about. We both feel partial settlements shouldbe avoided as much as is possible in all cases.Don’s characterization is: “partial settlements: the self-inflicted wound.” I’m with Don. And we both agree that it doesn’t make a difference even if partial settlement is with just a peripheral defendant. There are too many downsides. An obvious defendant who is not in the case allows the jurors to speculate and assume you already collected money or have not done something right. And allows into many cases the remaining defendants to point their finger at the empty chair. It opens the door to legal issues that could complicate the trial and your ability to collect the verdict.
Other helpful sections involve: negative attribution, focus group studies and voir dire. There is just enough information to make a point without a lot of extra complicated ideas.
Of course, Don talks about his copyrighted Reptile concepts, but this book is more than simply a rehash or extended discussion of that subject.
I also like the contributions made by other lawyers about their cases and how they handle issues.
We have a lot of ways to spend our money on instructional materials. This one is a good investment. I thought it was a valuable addition to my library, but if you are unhappy with the book ask Don for the refund, not me.