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.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Invest in Support Staff to Support Client Satisfaction


Of course client satisfaction is high when you win the case, or negotiate a favorable settlement, but client satisfaction can exist even when the outcome isn’t quite so terrific, which is important, since it’s client satisfaction that allows your practice to grow and develop.

Support staff is essential to client satisfaction: it’s up to you to make sure support staff has what they need to take good care of your clients. Too often, in your preoccupation with all that’s on your plate, you expect support staff to figure things out for themselves. To an extent, that’s fine--but you’ll benefit from giving your staff specific training in client services, as well as the authority to perform certain service-oriented tasks for the client. Good one-day seminars are worth their weight in gold. Invest in staff so they can return that investment many times over in client satisfaction.

Don’t leave staff out of regular updates as to what the firm is doing, why and how, so that support staff feels they are part of the law firm, not just hired underlings. Your law firm is more successful if all those involved are working in the same direction toward the same end.