Self control in the court room
A friend of mine who is a great trial lawyer has been in a lengthy jury trial with two defense lawyers. The atmosphere in the court room is high octane with the lawyers at each other’s throats. I sent my friend this note. He told me later that he had, with great effort, figured this out himself before I wrote and had managed to get control of himself. I think the advice I gave is right and here it is:
In cultures where there are elders, it is a normal practice that the elder does not give advice unless asked, but here’s my passing uninvited comment anyway.
I’ve been in blood baths like yours. In fact, in the early days of practice, especially in rural counties, hand to hand combat was not only tolerated but expected. If you were unfortunate enough to get a judge who couldn’t control the court room and worse, didn’t know evidence rules it was a total circus, like a scene out of an insane asylum. In former years, jurors were entertained by it, but in modern times jurors are generally repelled by chaos and fighting in the court room. Like all of us they don’t want to be around people who are disputing with year other.
So, here’s my uninvited comment from one who has only spent a few minutes in your courtroom. The question is what do you do about it when all you have to do is to hear the sound of the opponent’s footsteps and you are capable of murder? Gerrry Spence’s advice to me has been you stop. You draw a contrast between your opponent and your demeanor and conduct. He is a master at patiently waiting through rants. Pausing after it stops and calmly saying something to the judge while smiling. He exhibits total control over himself and as the level increases he becomes more calm and in control. Has great eye contact with the jury during an opponent’s rant. While staying strong and firm on his positions he ends up looking so much better then the other guy that he gets the jury approval. He talks about this and what he calls "giving away your power" in a book he wrote on argument. Yes, easier said then done, but Seneca said " He is most powerful who has himself in his power"