Pretrial, Trial, Appellate & Evidence Blog

Latest from Pretrial, Trial, Appellate & Evidence Blog - Page 2

A Time to Kill Trial advocacy is all about storytelling. In the movie Amistad, John Quincy Adams, portrayed by Anthony Hopkins, sums it up in this way: “Well, when I was an attorney, uh, a long time ago, young man, I, uh, realized after much trial and error in the courtroom, whomever tells the best story wins. In un-lawyerlike fashion, I give you that scrap of wisdom free of charge.” And, opening statement is your…
If you need assistance with litigation visuals and technology, two valuable resources are Thomas O’Toole and Patrick Muscat. They are my co-authors for my book Visual Litigation: Visual Communication Strategies and Today’s Technology. Thomas O’Toole, Ph.D., is the President and CEO of Sound Jury Consulting. Sound Jury Consulting has a graphics department and many of the visuals in the book were created by that department. Tom has practiced across the nation for fifteen years…
Visual presentations are now commonplace for trial. Judges and jurors have come to expect that trial lawyers will use visuals during a trial. Likewise, visual presentations are  becoming ubiquitous in alternative dispute resolution venues. Moreover, it is rare that cases go to trial these days because more cases are being resolved by mediation. For instance, in King County (Seattle, Washington), the King County Clerk reported that less than three percent of the cases are resolved…
My new book Visual Litigation: Visual Communication Strategies and Today’s Technology is being launched by Full Court Press, the publishing arm of Fastcase. My co-authors are Thomas O’Toole and Patrick Muscat. As a new generation of jurors steps into the jury box, research shows that visual communication in the courtroom is more important than ever before. Effective visual presentation enhances engagement, understanding, retention, and persuasiveness, yet few attorneys receive visual communication training in law school.…
Here we cover the other five Commandments in the Ten Commandments for Pretrial and Trial Advocacy. The first five were declared here. Sixth Commandment—Be a storyteller. People want a story. Your audience—jury, judge, mediator—want a story. Our history is a history of storytelling. We pass on our culture with storytelling. Our stories are told online, in newspapers, in plays, in movies—all storytelling. How important are stories? You may remember the movie The Amistad. The…
Irving Younger, the renowned lecturer and professor at Cornell Law School, distilled all the essentials of cross-examination into his Ten Commandments of Cross-Examination that you can watch here. Here are Ten Commandments of Pretrial and Trial Advocacy. As Younger would probably have said, “Violate any of these Commandments and you will regret it instantly and punishment will be immediate.” You can read the full description of the commandments in greater depth along with illustrations…
In this month’s Bar Bulletin, Jacob Kuykendall, who is the editor of the King County Bar Bulletin, wrote an article in the Law Movie Corner about my favorite trial movie–Anatomy of a Murder.  You can read Kuykendall’s full article here. I use Anatomy of a Murder in both my pretrial and trial class and in CLEs, including “Advocacy Goes to the Movies” and “Great Cross-Examinations in History and in the Movies,” around the…
Beginning this Summer Seattle University Law School will offer an online course entitled “Visual Litigation and Today’s Technology.” It is a 2-credit course that I’ll be teaching. In this Visual Litigation and Today’s Technology online course, students interested in litigation learn how to integrate technology into their pretrial and trial visual presentations. Just as technology has become a centerpiece in modern life, it is the centerpiece in litigation. Mediators, judges and jurors expect lawyers to use technology.…
Ken Lopez is the President/CEO of A2L Consulting. He recently authored an article in the King County Bar Bulletin in which he recommends the use of aikido, a martial art, approach to trial. Lopez puts it this way: “This is the idea that you can use someone’s momentum against them. If they are running at you, you can move to the side and trip them — and they will fall. This requires far less energy…
Most Americans are watching or reading about the impeachment hearings without either an understanding of what constitutes evidence that would be admissible in a court of law or how to evaluate the evidence. What most Americans know about evidence law they learned from television and movies, and that information is usually wrong. Why should it matter whether or not those of us who follow the impeachment hearings know some evidence law and how to evaluate…