Writing a Legal Brief? Try This Easy and Innovative Technique to Deliver Your Argument

Writing a Legal Brief?  Try This Easy and Innovative Technique to Deliver Your Argument
A commonly held belief is that litigation graphics are only for trial; unfortunately, this is applying an ancient approach to a modern day submission.  We asked some of our top clients (who include some of the top law firms in the US) why they use graphics in theirs briefs, and we received a resounding answer: visuals are the best way to communicate large amounts of data into one cohesive point.  When our clients are faced with complicated, convoluted charts or excel spreadsheets full of thousands of points of data, they call us.  The reason we always get this phone call from our most trusted clients is two-fold:

Because we have taught them that one graph (line, bar, or the like) can represent hundreds, if not thousands, of pieces of data in a simple uncomplicated way where the judge can immediately understand our argument

AND

With the limited amount of pages they are allowed in a brief, they understand each page needs to be as impactful as possible.

Below is a perfect example how we assisted a client with their recent brief.  Our client was faced with a very strict page limitation, but needed to include numerous financial data in order to make our argument plausible.  We condensed over 2100 (over 100 pages of Excel entries) pieces of data into one, static, comprehensive graphic that not only told our client’s story, but allowed the judge to understand a key argument with minimal cognitive overload. More importantly, our client was able to maximize the number of pages in their brief to help support their argument, which, in turn lead to a favorable ruling for our side moving forward.

 

Progressive litigators realize the value of utilizing visuals in all aspects of their case.  Visuals are no longer just for trial, but can also be used during motions, hearings, Markmans and even trial briefs.  If you’re using graphics only for trial, you’re already giving your opponent an advantage before stepping into the courtroom.

If you have any questions about gaining a competitive edge over your adversary, feel free to contact me at via LinkedIn.

 

 

The Best Article I Read This Week: First Impressions ARE Written in Stone, BUT Can Be Broken

Expect First Impressions to be Carved in Stone

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm:

We’ve all heard the old saying: You never get a second chance to make a first impression. It is true that when meeting someone new, our brain is quickly putting them into a number of categories. Their background, intelligence, friendliness, attitudes, trustworthiness, and a myriad of other aspects of character are all on their way to being locked into some pretty durable assumptions. In a legal setting, where a juror is reacting to a witness on the stand for example, we might want those credibility determinations to be made over time, informed by the full scope of the testimony. But don’t count on it. Our biological impression-formation machine isn’t known for its patience. Even in situations where our goals are to wait and to keep an open mind, we are still forming impressions almost immediately as a natural consequence of the brain’s penchant for making meaning. We can’t help it.

Full Article here:

http://www.persuasivelitigator.com/2014/02/expect-first-impressions-to-be-carved-in-stone.html

 

http://www.litigationps.com/.a/6a01156e439be2970c01a51175e29d970c-pi

7 Things You Never Want to Say in Court

by Ken Lopez
Lawyers say a lot of things in court – but here’s a list of seven things that, for various reasons, you never want to hear yourself saying in court.

Number 1: “Your Honor, could I please have a moment to sort out this technical issue.” The middle of trial is not the place to fix your technical glitches – yet one hears lawyers utter this sentence all the time. With few exceptions, technical problems are almost entirely preventable. And in any case, you always have a backup plan, right? Take a look at these related articles for more background on this:

Number 2: “My client.” I believe the phrase “my client” should be banished from the lexicon of all litigators….

things not to say in court

Read more here:

http://www.a2lc.com/blog/bid/68380/7-things-you-never-want-to-say-in-court?source=Blog_Email_%5B7%20Things%20You%20Never%20W%5D

Know the Difference Between Debate and Trial Advocacy

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm:

5795107160_6017de054f_z

There is a tendency, particularly within law, to equate argumentation and persuasion: How do you persuade? By offering arguments, of course. But that isn’t all of it, or even necessarily the half of it. You win the argument when your point cannot be refuted, but you persuade only when your target is convinced. Over the years, most formats of academic debate have clearly chosen argument over persuasion. No self-respecting debate judge would admit that they are siding with the winner because they more fully understand and accept that side’s advocacy. Instead they will say, often in excruciating detail…

Read more here:

http://www.persuasivelitigator.com/2013/10/know-the-difference-between-debate-and-trial-advocacy.html

Attorneys’ Analogies Are A Lot Like My In-laws Dancing At Weddings (Or, Your “Metaphor” Is Actually A Simile)

By Thomas M. O’Toole, Ph.D.

If there is a complex issue that jurors need to understand, I’m a fan of identifying communication strategies that help jurors understand the issue directly, rather than understanding what the issue is “kind of like.” Visual communication should always be the first resort in this scenario. Graphics can simplify an issue much more effectively than analogies and can often do so in a more persuasive manner, while avoiding the risks that analogies and metaphors present. A graphic is not just a pretty picture; it is visual advocacy. Effective graphics break an issue down into understandable parts, capture the logical flow of the issue, and show jurors how it fits perfectly within the legal framework of the case. This is where the slideshow style of PowerPoint can be particularly helpful. It’s not just one picture but a progressive series of pictures that tie multiple items together in a simple and persuasive manner that both motivates and arms jurors to be effective advocates on complex issues during deliberations.

Bottom line, it’s time to put the brakes on the use of analogies and metaphors by attorneys at trial. My aunt-in-law Josephine’s dancing is amusing because we only have to witness it every few years. The same can be said about attorneys’ use of metaphors and analogies: they are best when used sparingly or not at all.  There are many better routes to persuasion that metaphors, and each one starts with visual communication.

 

Read more here:

http://soundjuryconsulting.com/blog/?p=85

wedding dancing

Consider How You Come Across With the Volume Off

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm:

3901724344_0e2ea5e71c_z

We know communication is visual and not just verbal. But when litigators think of that, they tend to think of demonstrative exhibits and technology. But what about themselves? As a speaker, you’re making a visual impression as well. Most know the basics: stand up straight, look the jury or judge in the eye, use a few gestures. But in practice, attorneys want to expect that in court, content is king and what we say matters more than how we look when we say it. But some surprising research shows that more than we expect is coming through the visual channel.

The studies use the technique of asking research participants to assess a communicator without the aid of sound. Watching a music competition with the sound off, for example, (Tsay, 2013) both amateur and professional musicians were able to correctly predict the competition winners, and did so at a level that was better than those who heard and those who both heard and saw the performance. Similarly, experimental participants unfamiliar with the candidates were able to identify the election winner after simply watching ten-second silent video clips of a gubernatorial debate (Benjamin & Shapiro, 2009). As with the music competition research, turning the sound on tended to worsen the accuracy.

 

Read more here:

http://www.persuasivelitigator.com/2013/09/consider-how-you-come-across-with-the-volume-off.html