Metaphor: A metaphor makes comparisons by replacing one thing for another. Metaphors are powerful because they connect the information you want to impart to with something with which the jurors are familiar. Also, metaphors can be utilized to make a complex idea easier to understand. In trial advocacy, the metaphor can be a bridge between your case theory and something with which the jurors are familiar.
Here’s a collection of metaphors, some of them compiled by Paul Luvera, one of the nation’s leading trial lawyers:
Robert Frost—The Road Not Taken: “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both. . .”
Shakespeare—Romeo and Juliet: “Juliet is the sun.”
Shakespeare—Macbeth: “Life is but a walking shadow.”
Shakespeare—Timon of Athens: “The sun’s a thief.”
Plato: “As empty vessels make the loudest sound, so they that have the least wit are the greatest babblers.”
Mark Twain: “Everyone is a moon and has a dark side, which he never shows to anybody.”
Churchill said of Secretary of State Dulles: “He is the only bull who brings his own china shop with him.”
Comedian Robin Tyler: “Fundamentalists are to Christianity what paint by the numbers is to art.”
Len Deighton: “In Mexico, an air conditioner is called a “politician” because it makes a lot of noise, but doesn’t work.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower: “Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.”
Jim Hardin, the District Attorney for Durham, North Carolina, in closing argument of the murder trial of Michael Peterson (The Staircase documentary): “I started looking around the scene and in the stairwell thinking—what if those walls could talk? What would they say? Ladies and gentlemen, these walls are talking. Kathleen Peterson is talking to us through the blood on these walls. She is screaming at us for truth and for justice. It’s all in these photographs.”