Successful trial lawyers know how to pick the right words to persuade. They use similes, metaphors, analogies, famous quotes, and the rule of three. We’re going to explore all of these, and we start with the rule of three.
Rule of Three: For a trial lawyer or for any public speaker, the application of the rule of three is a must. The pattern of three has an impact on the listener. The audience, the jury, will feel the triple phrases emotionally and retain it better. The rationale for the rule of three is that when things come in threes, they are more effective than when they come in any other number.
Think of all the great speeches and documents that incorporated the rule of three:
Joe Biden, June 2, 2020–“We are a nation in pain – we must not let our pain destroy us.
We are a nation enraged – but we cannot let our rage consume us.
We are a nation exhausted – but we will not allow our exhaustion to defeat us.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.’s I have a dream speech—”Free at last, Free at last, Thank God almighty we are free at last.”
Declaration of Independence—“Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”
Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address—“We cannot dedicate—we cannot consecrate— we cannot hallow — this ground.”
Also, from Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address—“and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Winston Churchill—”Never Never in the history of human endeavor has so much been owed by so many to so few.”
Winston Churchill—“I have nothing to offer but blood, sweat and tears.” Actually, on May 13, 1940, he said “blood, toil, tears and sweat,” but is attributed with the other probably because it follows the rule of three.
Dale Carnegie—“Tell the audience what you’re going to say, say it; then tell them what you’ve said.”
Julius Caesar—“I came, I saw, I conquered.” Or in Latin, “Veni, vidi, vici.”
Vincent Bugliosi’s concluding remarks in summation in the Charlie Manson murder trial—“Under the law of this state and nation these defendants are entitled to have their day in court. They got that.
They are also entitled to have a fair trial by an impartial jury. They also got that.
Since they committed these seven senseless murders, the People of the state of California are entitled to a guilty verdict.”