The Perils of Arrogance in Preparation

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Trial attorneys, by nature, have (or at least display) a great deal of confidence.  It’s an essential component of the job. Success in the courtroom demands confidence.  And this confidence is well-earned. After all, you must be doing something right to be where you’re at in your career. But don’t let that confidence create unnecessary barriers. A law degree is not a certification in effective communication.  Thinking through an idea is a fundamentally different task than communicating that idea. Attorneys supremely capable of the former still struggle with the latter, perhaps because communication is so fundamental to our existence that it’s easy to assume we are naturally skilled at it.  That would be false. Perhaps we tend to forget that, while our own ideas are immediately and clearly accessible to us in our minds, they need to be packaged as best as we can in words and images for others to  understand. The challenge is akin to trying to share with a friend the experience of viewing a Picasso by merely describing it to him or her. Even the best words fall short.  Here’s three areas where effective communication often departs from effective strategy at trial:

Read more here:

http://tsongas.com/blog-posts/my-38-minute-5k-and-the-perils-of-arrogance-in-preparation-buy-now-and-get-a-free-zimmerman-epilogue-and-keychain/

10 Signs of a Good Jury Questionnaire

by Laurie R. Kuslansky, Ph.D.
Expert Jury Consultant

A jury questionnaire is distributed to jurors when they arrive for service. More often than not, this is a highly contested document that all parties want to have a voice in crafting. Knowing what to ask for without overreaching is critical since a judge may revert to a default jury questionnaire.

As in any investigation, answers are only as good as the questions. Accordingly, a jury questionnaire should avoid “garbage in/garbage out” like the plague.  I have seen far more bad questions than good ones on jury questionnaires.  The following is a guide to help avoid questionnaires that ask a lot, but answer little by way of useful information and helpful results.

A good jury questionnaire …

  1. Avoids questions that reveal your good jurors.Perhaps the most frequent mistake is asking questions to reveal friends rather than enemies. For example, why should a civil defendant ask, “Do you think there are too many frivolous lawsuits?” or “Do you agree there should be a cap on damages?”  If someone agrees, you have just given your opponent a gift.  You’ve done their job for them and made it easy to target your good jurors for follow-up questions or a strike, whether for cause or a peremptory.

    Instead, target enemies!  For example, better defense questions leave more room to reveal adverse opinions to your side, such as, “Do you believe that if a case gets to court, it must have merit?”

  2. Is based on data, not opinion or past experience alone.

Read more helpful hints here:

http://www.a2lc.com/blog/bid/65970/10-Signs-of-a-Good-Jury-Questionnaire?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+a2lc+%28The+Litigation+Consulting+Report+from+A2L+Consulting%29

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Timeline Design for Litigation: When to Use a Static Timeline

“I need a timeline.” This is how litigators often start in asking for legal graphics. This start to the graphics conversation makes sense because timelines are perhaps the most common type of legal graphic, and the most familiar to many litigators. This starting point also makes sense in light of a litigator’s goal—a litigator needs to tell a cohesive story, and the relative timing of various events can help the litigator knit those events into a pattern.

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To design a timeline, we need to understand how the litigator will use the timeline to tell his or her story. In this blog post, I’ll introduce some of the design questions we use at Cogent Legal to help litigators think about their timelines.

To assist in this discussion, below is a “static” timeline illustrating events in two related pieces of patent litigation, one in the ITC (the International Trade Commission), and one in district court:

Read more here:

http://cogentlegal.com/blog/2013/07/timeline-design-questions/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+CogentLegalBlog+%28Cogent+Legal+Blog%29

Timeline