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Faced with a number of options as jurors are when deliberating a verdict, people will often make decisions by translating each option into how they would feel emotionally about the anticipated outcome. The option that yields the most preferred emotional outcome is more likely to be chosen. For example, improving safety is both a practical and moral action. Any verdict that encourages companies to improve safety feels good. The thinking goes roughly like this: “If…
Most lawyers, when they prepare witnesses to testify, are understandably focused on the key substantive issues. They want to make sure the witness remembers important points. Great! But in so doing, lawyers often rely on their prepared questions, leaving little or no room for information not elicited by the lawyer’s direct questions. As I prepare witnesses to testify, they disclose unexpected information that I then present to the lawyer–often to his/her surprise. Frequently this information…
GenXers are getting older. They are the generation bumping up against the Boomers who are slowly but surely on their way out. Which means you are seeing more of them in the jury box – individuals born between roughly 1961 and 1981, who are now in their late 30’s to mid 50’s. They are no longer entry-level hires, they’ve moved up into managerial or supervisor ranks, or commonly, headed off into entrepreneurial ventures of all…
In the political world, character has been a subject of considerable interest over the past year. In the trial world, this is nothing new. An attorney’s character is always a subject of interest to jurors. The more you exhibit sound moral character, the more favor you are likely to find with the jurors. Behaviors that are characteristically interpreted as evidence of sound moral character include the following:        1. Be professional toward opposing counsel. Don’t stoop…
A successful lawyer is one who knows how to persuade jurors, that much is obvious. What is less obvious is that jurors are persuaded on several different levels. One level that is often ignored is the difference levels in how we each perceive information, our unique perceptual modes. An individual’s perceptual mode determines the primary way that individual perceives events and situations: we see it, hear it or feel it. That is not to say…
Some of your clients will have considerable experience with attorneys, for others, you may be the first attorney they’ve ever contacted. Your corporate clients probably have a good idea of how and for what you charge, your first-timers and private individuals won’t. Since one of the most common client complaints is what the client considers un-necessary or excessive charges, it’s best to have an explanation of your fees and various expenses early on, otherwise you…
It is often tempting to rip into opposing counsel, or disparage his/her client in emotionally charged vitriolic words, yet such an approach rarely wins over jurors. Sure, you have the shock value of a momentary deer-in-the-headlights stunned witness or a knee-jerk angry riposte from opposing counsel, but in the long run, that’s not what convinces jurors. Jury studies systematically show that jurors tend to be highly critical and disapproving of such tactics. One time during…
Even though your new clients have sufficient faith in your abilities to put their matter in your hands, trust–the bedrock of a working relationship with any client–must still be earned. When a new client walks in your door, your inclination may be to see another problem to be solved, another fee to garner and to forget the human being behind the case. Your client, whether a Fortune 500 CEO or a grieving widow, is a…