Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Persuasion 101: Seeing is Believing

Recently, a Brigham City orthopedic surgeon (Dr. Dewey MacKay) claimed that the jury mistakenly convicted him of illegally prescribing medication  because they neither understood the facts of the case, nor how chronic pain is managed.

Jurors interviewed by the Salt Lake Tribune, however, said Dr. Mackay’s comments were misguided. One juror summed up the jury’s deliberation process succinctly: “We took every single count one by one and discussed each count in detail. We used the chalkboard, we used chart paper so everything was visual for everyone.”
(The Salt Lake Tribune, Dec 22 2011)
“So everything was visual for everyone.” That’s the key. That’s how you must be able to present your case if you are to prevail: visually. Regardless of the nature of your case: personal injury, med mal, construction defect, eminent domain, contractual dispute, whatever, you must be able to find ways to translate testimony and facts into visual elements.
That means much more than flashing deposition or other text on the screen. Visual rendition of testimony means coming up with graphics, diagrams, and bottom line charts. It’s answering today’s jurors’ constant need to “see it” before they believe it.
When you, the lawyer, provide the jury with compelling visuals to clarify and emphasize your points, you pave the way for the deliberations to favor your interpretation of the facts. This is far better than relying on the jurors’ ability to render your points visually, for they may or may not do so accurately.