Friday, September 1, 2017

Use Analogies to Persuade Jurors

You are often challenged to convey complex situations or ideas, unfamiliar to your jurors, in a way that they will understand. A juror who does not understand your point cannot be persuaded to your interpretation of the facts. Understanding is the foundation of juror persuasion.

Analogies facilitate understanding by creating links between the unfamiliar and unknown of your case to the known and familiar aspects of your jurors’ life experience. Analogies compare ideas or situations which are identical in some ways but not in others.

For example, let’s say that part of your case is that cooperation of the nursing staff, hospital equipment supply chain, physicians, etc. is essential to the success of a surgical procedure. You can compare such cooperation to the cooperation required for the success of a baseball team.

Without the cooperation of every member/part of the surgical team, the procedure will fail, just as without the cooperation of every member/part of the baseball team, the team will lose.
Most jurors are familiar with how sports work, but not with how surgical procedures are conducted. The comparison between the familiar and the unfamiliar allows the unfamiliar to be understood in terms of what is identical to the two situations. In this example, it’s cooperation.

It is worth your time and effort to come up with analogies that truly facilitate comprehension of your particular situation. A good analogy can make all the difference when it comes to that critical component – juror understanding of your case, and with it, your ability to persuade them.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Technology in the Courtroom: Does it Engage or Overwhelm Jurors?

Massive access to information has had an impact on preparing for trial. The challenge is, with all the latest technological and forensic material available to you, how can you choose those that can effectively help win your case?

California Litigation recently ran my article, "Technology in the Courtroom: Does it Engage or Overwhelm Jurors?" Check it out here:

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Higher Cause Themes Lead to Greater Success

There’s a reason why case themes of “greed” – be they launched at corporate defendants or over-reaching plaintiffs – work so well with juries. Fundamentally, jurors prefer the moral high road, and as such, they don’t want to reward “greed.”

But you don’t always have such a convenient case theme handed to you. Often, you need to ferret out the theme from the facts of the case. You will be best served, in terms of convincing your jury, when you look for themes that elevate the case to a higher cause. It is rare to engage a jury emotionally, for example, by simply arguing the specifics of whose vehicle rammed into whose in a personal injury case. You increase your chances of winning a large award for your client, or conversely, of defending your client, if you raise the theme to a moral issue: for example, irresponsible drivers or the state of automobile safety.

These are concerns that virtually all jurors have, and with which they can connect emotionally. That emotional connectivity is what sways their minds and hearts--and thus their verdicts.

Presenting jurors with the opportunity to make their community safer for drivers and pedestrians alike, or to prevent needless deaths, gives them the opportunity to right a clear-cut wrong. It’s a morally rewarding choice.

Common sense dictates that you can’t simply pluck an emotionally compelling theme out of thin air. It must emerge from the facts of your case. But you certainly can be on the lookout for a theme which promotes a higher, and thus more persuasive, cause as you examine the facts and evidence in your case.