Trial lawyers generally over try their cases and talk to too much. It’s a mistake. Jurors of today have short attention spans and respond to messages that get to the point. Here are examples of what I think demonstrates how a brief, simple message can be very powerful. They are not long. They are not detailed, but they tell a story and do so in a simple well-crafted manner. That’s what we, as trial lawyers should strive to achieve.

Delicious is a TV series that was a four-part first series that aired from December 2016 to January 2017. It was unique because it opened with the story told by a deceased man which shows your trial stories can be told from virtually any perspective. There is a funeral scene where the mother of her adult son gives a eulogy. It is not long, but its simplicity and description communicates a story of great loss. Think about your wrongful death cases and the story you want to tell:

“No mother should bury a son. The very idea is an affront to decency. Against God.  And yet here I am. Leo… was my only child. I loved him very much. All of you knew my son. And some of you loved him, too. But I am the one who held him in my arms when he was born. And held his hand when he crossed his first busy street. And I let him weep on my shoulder when his foolish, sixteen year-old heart was broken. All of that was mine. And mine alone. Some of you may believe that age diminishes those feelings. I stand here to tell you… It doesn’t. Thank you.”

The Kominsky Method was a Netflix series staring Michal Douglas and Alan Arkin that ran from 2018 to 2021. One scene featured Alan Arkin at the funeral of his wife giving a eulogy. Here is what he said:

“Dear Ellen, we have been husband and wife for 46 years. In all that time, I have never not been in love with you. I’ve been angry with you, confused by you, even hurt by you, but never not in love.

You were the woman I was looking for. Ever since I started looking. Beautiful, smart, funny, strong, willing to sleep with me, eventually. If something good happen to me at work, it wasn’t real until I shared it with you.

 If something bad had happened, it was only tolerable  because I had you to complain to. If I heard a funny joke, my first thought was, “ I cannot wait to tell you.” Elaine.” Then I would get to hear your laugh, or you would roll your eyes and tell me the joke was a stinker, and we would both laugh.

I honestly do not know how to carry on without you, but I will because you told me to in no uncertain terms.”

Ron Reagan gave a eulogy for his father President Ronald Reagan in 2004. Here is the first part of what he had to say about  his father:

“He is home now. He is free. In his final letter to the American people, Dad wrote, “I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life.” This evening, he has arrived.

History will record his worth as a leader. We here have long since measured his worth as a man: Honest, compassionate, graceful, brave. He was the most plainly decent man you could ever hope to meet.

He used to say, “A gentleman always does the kind thing.” And, he was a gentleman in the truest sense of the word: A gentle man.

Big as he was, he never tried to make anyone feel small. Powerful as he became, he never took advantage of those who were weaker. Strength, he believed, was never more admirable than when it was applied with restraint. Shopkeeper, doorman, king or queen, it made no difference. Dad treated everyone with the same unfailing courtesy — acknowledging the innate dignity in us all.

The idea that all people are created equal was more than mere words on a page, it was how he lived his life. And he lived a good, long life — the kind of life good men lead.

But I guess I’m just telling you things you already know.”


It was Mark Twain who said: “If you want me to give you a two-hour presentation, I am ready today. If you want only a five-minute speech, it will take me two weeks to prepare.” It’s easy to give an undisciplined, rambling speech without focus. It’s hard to take the time to craft a brief but powerful speech. But, the first is boring and the second is motivating. Learn to communicate in short, simple and understandable ways.

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