“Getting” the Story: Why Narratives Make a Difference

“He Who Tells the Stories, Rules the World.”                         –Hopi Indian Proverb Humans think in stories.  From the earliest cave folk who related how they killed a fierce beast to the water-cooler stories of today, humans understand facts in context; it helps us make sense of information and aids in memory.  People remember the story; […]

Jury Research on a Budget

It seems that no one is exempt from the effects of today’s economy.  From the biggest corporations to the smallest law firms, all the way down to the 12 members of the jury hearing a case, everyone is feeling the pinch of shrinking budgets and tightening wallets.  However, this has not necessarily changed the number […]

Arguing Hardship: You Can’t Have It Both Ways

Jury selection is quickly approaching, the panel is large and the trial is scheduled to last over the course of several weeks.  The judge has allowed counsel to submit a Supplemental Juror Questionnaire that contains questions regarding hardship and those hardship claims will be considered prior to the start of jury selection.  While it is […]

PART II: Detecting and Overcoming Implicit Bias

We have all been there during jury selection, listening to a juror tell the court that they have a bias that may prevent them from fairly considering the evidence when a judge steps in and asks the juror to “set your bias aside.”  More often than not, the juror is pressured to acquiesce that they […]

PART I: Implicit and Explicit Effects of Bias in the Courtroom

With the election and inauguration of our nation’s first biracial President, some have questioned whether the United States has finally quashed its ubiquitous problems with racial bias.  Though Americans have made tremendous progress in their acceptance of differences, social psychological research indicates we aren’t there yet.  The study of bias has gone “underground,” examining how implicit attitudes […]

PART III: Characteristics for Improving the Credibility of Your Witness: Positive Witness Characteristics

While well-credentialed witnesses’ messages can be undercut by their engagement in undesirable witness characteristics (as discussed in our previous two Insights), the result of adopting good witness qualities can have the opposite effect: jurors are more likely to believe witnesses are telling the truth when they are telling the truth. Working with witnesses to help […]

PART II: Characteristics for Improving the Credibility of Your Witness: Undesirable Non-Verbal Witness Characteristics

In our previous issue of Insights, we discussed how the ways in which witnesses answer questions and utilize speech patterns (e.g., using powerless vs. powerful speech, vocal distracters), could negatively affect jurors’ evaluations.  In this issue, we explore what jurors have told us adversely affects a witness’s credibility with respect to a witness’s non-verbal habits.  We will […]

PART I: Characteristics for Improving the Credibility of Your Witness: Undesirable Verbal Witness Characteristics

What witnesses say through the course of their testimony can make or break counsel’s ability to effectively argue a case.  While a witness may have excellent credentials and a persuasive message to tell, his/her display of certain undesirable characteristics can cause jurors to not believe the witness, even when he/she istelling the truth. From our experience with witness […]

Going it Alone: What to Anticipate When Running Your Own Courtroom Technology

The following is based from an article published by the International Association of Defense Counsel Technology Committee in its 2008 newsletter series and co-written with Bob Manlowe, Esq. and Jenny Guidi. For full text of the article please contact Mr. Bloomberg at Sometimes the size of the case or, in these uncertain economic times, your budget dictates […]

Voir Dire Check List

We have all shared this experience.  Jury selection is at 9:00 a.m. Monday morning.  It is Sunday night and the national trial team, lead by an attorney from out of town, is meeting to discuss voir dire and jury selection.  A jury consultant is present, meeting local counsel for the first time.  Time is precious, […]