Stan Greenberg is a well know pollster who columnist Thomas L. Friedman recentlywrote about. He listed thekey lessons Greenberg learned from all his experience in working with politicans and presidents. So, what was theultimate lesson he learned about how presidents of the United States should act? Here it is:
"You can’t be too honest in describing big problems, too bold in offering big solutions, too humble in dealing with big missteps, too forward in retelling your story or too gutsy in speaking the previously unspeakable."
Why am I telling you about this? Well, because that’s also good advice for trial lawyers in dealing with the judge or jury in your cases. Honesty is the secret power persuader most lawyers are afraid of applying. You can’t be too honest about everything in your case, the good, the bad and the ugly when brought out in the open, explained and discussed. Humility in acknowledging trial mistakes helps your case a whole lotbetter then attempts at concealment.. Thefact you are honest enough to acknowledge the mistakes shows you are credible and trustworthy. Talking about the issues that are the elephant in the room during jury selection substantially improves your chance of success and does not "contaminate" the jury pool. Research has clearly demonstrated you are perceived as more credible when you bring out issues like tort reform and other "untouchable" subjects you wish didn’t exist and then to discuss them with the jurors. Telling and retelling your client’s story in jury selection, opening statement, direct examination and cross examination is the key to winning cases. A trial is a story telling event.
In short, Greenberg’s advice is excellent advice for all of us who try cases.