Saturday, June 30, 2018

Your Interpreter Is A Plus at Trial; Use Accordingly!

The need for an interpreter at trial can often seem like just one more of those annoying administrative details of which you have already entirely too many. And yet, an interpreter can make all the difference between your witness being able to give persuasive testimony, and not-so-convincing testimony.

Effective interpreting is not about mere translation of the words! A good interpreter will convey the tone, emphasis, and nuances of your witness’ communication, all of which weigh heavily in how jurors will receive the message.

Therefore, prepare your witness with the interpreter present, whenever possible. Learn to work with the interpreter. You are no longer a solo flier; you are now working in tandem with your interpreter, as well as the witness. Best to prepare accordingly!

Be sensitive to cultural issues. Different cultures respond to being questioned in different ways. Your interpreter can help you frame your questions such that you elicit the best possible testimony from your witness.

Friday, June 1, 2018

How to Give a Good Deposition and Testify Well in Court – Now Available for Download

How to Give a Good Deposition and Testify Well in Court – now available for download through Amazon. This acclaimed video provides practical step-by-step techniques and role-play demonstrations to show clients how to prepare themselves for depositions and court testimony. It is most useful to clients when paired with "101 Winning Tips"—a quick-reference online companion booklet, also available at Amazon.

A Case Clincher Question: “Tell me more!”

Although time-consuming, and therefore considered onerous by many attorneys, open-ended questions asked during client interviews can often give you “case-clincher” nuggets.

For example, in the course of asking a client open-ended questions about how she claimed a poorly executed knee surgery had affected her life, resulting in one leg being an inch shorter than the other, the client made predictable statements such as; “I can’t walk for more than 10 minutes at a time. I limp. I have to have special shoes made.” The attorney asked, almost offhand, thinking the interview was over, “Anything else?” and his client blurted out “I can’t carry my baby.” Her “baby” statement became the clincher that won a far greater award than would otherwise have occurred, according to post-trial juror questioning.

A great reason to ask “Anything else?” or to inquire, “Tell me more,” and to listen carefully!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Winning Bench Trials and Arbitrations

Generally speaking, judges and arbitrators are less susceptible to emotion and vagaries of human drama than they are to the facts of the case--the logic that must underpin and support your arguments. Although the following are useful tips in any courtroom setting, they are particularly important in giving you the edge in bench trials and arbitration.

            1. Get to the point. Craft a beginning statement that summarizes your position. Then follow with the three most critical points that back up your interpretation of the facts. Now you’ve located the matter for the judge/arbitrator, given them a context to work from and they are ready to listen to the details.

            2. Make every word count. Keep your phrases short and succinct. The judge/arbitrator will appreciate a lawyer who doesn’t waste their time.

            3. Present yourself and your case with confidence, not with aggressiveness. Your “do or die” attitude, often necessary in a jury trial, is usually counterproductive in ADR/bench trials. Instead, embrace an attitude of “I have the stronger, more accurate, interpretation of the facts.”

Now, you’ve got the winning edge!

A Winning Case Dr. Nelson recently consulted on:

Congratulations to Dan Hoven and Carlo Conty of Browning, Kaleczyc, Berry & Hoven, P.C. (Helena, Montana) for their successful Defense Verdict, in a case involving complications during a tonsillectomy performed on the 22 year old plaintiff by head and neck surgeon, Dr. Ray Kaufman.  During the surgery, Dr. Kaufman encountered uncontrolled bleeding that required him to ligate the left external carotid artery. Plaintiff claimed Dr. Kaufman breached the standard of care by cutting too deep beyond the tonsil capsule, thus the bleed. Plaintiff subsequently suffered a stroke as the ligation created a clot, and claimed total disability. Defense argued that a subsequent CT angiogram showed aberrant vasculature near the tonsil bed which could not have been anticipated preoperatively.