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.