PRINCIPLES OF DEBATE FOR TRIAL LAWYERS

Todd Graham the director of debate at Southern Illinois University. He wrote an  analysis in a special to CNN of the Florida Republican debate which I thought had some ideas about debate that might be useful in lawyer’s presentations. He said what he teaches, as the technique for debate is argue, attack, respond and presence.

By argue, he means you need to state your case. Make your argument in support of your position. Attack refers to the need to point out the weakness in your opponent’s position. Explain why it is wrong. Respond refers to the point that you must not let your opponent’s criticisims go unanswered. You need to respond to them and deal with them. And, presence means  that no matter how good your argument might be, your delivery and demeanor must be right. Your delivery must be convincing. You need to be in control with the right presence.

I thought each of these were good ideas for trial lawyers to think about in making arguments.

About Paul Luvera

Plaintiff trial lawyer for 50 years. Past President of the Inner Circle of Advocates & Washington State Trial Lawyers Association. Member American Board of Trial Advocates, American College of Trial Lawyers, International Academy, International Society of Barristers, member of the National Trial Lawyers Hall of Fame & speaker at Spence Trial College
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