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Active Shooter Premises Liability: What Are Jurors’ Expectations of Safety?

Time and time again, the American public reels from the traumas of mass shootings. Virginia Tech, Aurora, Pulse Night Club, Sandy Hook, Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs Church, and, just last month, Stoneman Douglas – all fatal shootings we’ve heard and read about, occurring in different places, at different times of day, and targeting different people. The frequency […]

Should I Allow Jurors to Ask Questions of Witnesses?

On more than one occasion, I’ve been in court when the judge asked counsel if they would like to allow jurors to submit any questions for witnesses following their testimony. In most cases, judges have indicated they would allow juror questions if both parties agreed, yet attorneys are rarely sure if it is a good […]

How Important Is Attorney Etiquette in the Courtroom?

“All the world’s a stage,” as they say; and apparently, that includes the courtroom. From my countless post-trial interviews with jurors, I’ve come to the conclusion that jurors are always watching you – not just to see if you’re a good lawyer, but to see if you’re a good person. Thus, it is important for […]

When is it Best to Conduct a Follow-Up Jury Research Project?

You hire the jury consultant. You do the test. You learn a lot. Then, the consultant recommends a follow-up test. Your immediate reaction might be, “Of course you think there should be multiple tests; you’re the jury consultant….” We get that. But lest you worry that we’re just pursuing our own self-interest on your dime, […]

How Can the Defense Use the “Reptile Approach” Against Plaintiffs?

“This is a very important case, and by being a juror on a case like this, you’re taking on a pretty big role; you’re basically a guardian of the community.  You’re the ones that get to be the decider about when things are wrong or when they’re right, or when some change needs to happen. […]

Should an ESL Witness Testify Through an Interpreter?

When presented with a witness who speaks English as a Second Language (ESL), it is difficult to predict how they will be perceived by a jury.  In a previous post, we examined the challenges of identifying juror bias against foreign witnesses, but that raises a separate, yet related issue as to whether that witness is […]

Storytelling in the Age of Emojis

Weaving words together to create pictures in the minds of jurors – true storytelling – has long been the foundation of successful trial lawyers.  But why stop with words alone?  Adding actual images to a presentation further enhances jurors’ ability to understand and remember case themes.  These images can resonate across age, gender, beliefs, and individual […]

What Analogies Can I Use to Explain My Case to a Jury?

When working on trial strategy with a client, it is almost inevitable that he or she will ask, “What analogy can I use to help the jury understand X?”  Then, the trial attorneys, in-house counsel, and anyone else in the room will begin tossing around various analogies – most of which sound like great ideas […]

Should My Client Say “I’m Sorry”?

As a corporate defendant, does it help or hurt to apologize for past conduct?  Does it show weakness?  Fault?  Honesty?  Sincerity? Well, it all depends on the case.  Just take a look at mock jurors’ very different reactions to two different defendants saying, “We’re sorry.” Juror A:  “They have done nothing to address the problems […]

Why Storytelling is Your Best Defense

The Problem As we know all too well, plaintiffs often have a ready-made underdog tale in civil trials:  David (their client) against Goliath (your client).  And nobody roots for Goliath. That’s strike one against you, before you even start.  Add in the fact that many jurors assume your client must have done something wrong if […]

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