Dictionary.com defines an analogy as “a comparison between two things, typically for the purpose of explanation or clarification,” which is the very thing that makes analogies so powerful in persuading jurors. Your jurors come from a variety of life experiences, and may not have a clear understanding or ability to relate emotionally to a given issue of key importance to your case. An analogy is an efficient and effective way to accomplish that. For example, the critical importance of cooperation on a surgical team may be compared to that on a baseball team. However, analogies only persuade under certain conditions.
1. Make sure your analogy suits your jury. If your jury is young, analogies from the Depression or WWII will not only fail to have the desired impact, they may bore your jurors. Not good. If your jury is primarily female, sports-oriented analogies should be used sparingly. Respect the life-experience of your jurors (most often revealed through juror occupations), and tailor your analogies accordingly.
2. Make sure your analogy is accurate. If it isn’t 100% accurate, opposing counsel will be quick to turn your analogy against you.
3. Avoid overstatement. An analogy is persuasive only if it is backed up by your facts. When you seek emotional connection with the jurors without paying sufficient attention to the logic underpinning your analogy, you lose credibility.