Top Ten Litigation Insights Blogs of 2017

We may have left 2017 behind, but let’s not forget some of our favorite blogs! We wanted to take one last look back on what our readers and clients found most helpful in 2017. While some of the blogs listed below were the most read articles in the last year (but may have been published before then), others were favorites as told to us by our clients. We always appreciate your continued support and interest in our Insights; we couldn’t have made this past year so great without you.

#10 – Graphics in Pre-Trial Motions and Hearings: An Early Advantage

In addition to the other practical benefits of getting an early start on your graphics, many of our clients have found that having tight, professional graphics to show the judge in pre-trial hearings carries substantial persuasive weight. In this first of two blogs, Adam Bloomberg covers a few examples of graphics that can serve to explain your claims and tell your story to a judge in pre-trial hearings.

#9 – Should a Witness Look at the Jury? Keys to Effective Courtroom Contact

Eye contact has the power to be inclusive, to bring observers of a discussion into the conversation. The importance of eye contact, especially for a witness, is amplified in a courtroom setting. Dr. Merrie Jo Pitera discusses why witness testimony is a two-way conversation and how such eye contact can affect a witness’ credibility.

#8 – Trial Graphics: Top Six Ways to Get More out of a Limited Budget

With so many variables, ideas, and possible directions, it can be difficult to adhere to a strict graphics budget. In this article, Marti Martin Robinson identifies six significant ways you can help your trial graphics team help you – and dramatically reduce your costs in the process.

#7 – Is It Ethical to Research Jurors Online During Jury Selection

While we have discussed the benefits of online juror research in a previous blog post, Dr. Christina Marinakis here examines the ethical considerations of conducting such research, based on our years of experience conducting it and our continued review of the topic.  Understanding the guidelines provided will help ensure that these searches, and the information uncovered, are handled ethically and responsibly.

#6 – Should My Client Say “I’m Sorry”?

Apologies and contrition can be important tools in persuading jurors to listen to the defense case with an open mind. However, jurors could also have a drastically different response to a corporate defendant apologizing for past conduct and interpret the apology as fault. Dr. Jill Leibold examines how a company can respond to its missteps.

#5 – Who Is the Ideal Juror to Look for During Voir Dire?

Instead of asking, “What type of people do I want on my jury?” Dr. Jill Leibold suggests asking, “Which jurors pose the greatest danger to my case?” In another loved blog of 2017, Dr. Leibold discusses why attorneys should think of it as jury de-selection and why mock trials can help create a jury profile aimed at identifying your bad jurors, without exposing your good jurors.

#4 – How Long Should Closing Arguments Last in a Trial?

Clients often ask us when preparing for trial, “How long should my closing arguments last? What do the jurors need to hear again?” Robert Gerchen discusses the true purposes of closing arguments and what jurors want to hear to help you strategically plan your best arguments.

#3 – What Are the Benefits of Having Diversity in a Jury Panel?

Even in trials that do not directly involve racial issues, defendants benefit from having a diverse jury. In one of our most read blogs both this year and last, Dr. Christina Marinakis details why diversity in a jury panel matters and why it’s valuable to your case. While the issue of whether race influences verdict outcome is case-specific and far more complex than can be addressed here, the bottom line is that diversity matters in every case.

#2 – What to Ask in Voir Dire

While discussing potential questions attorneys might consider asking prospective jurors during voir dire, our clients often inquire, “You don’t actually ask that question in voir dire do you?”  In fact, there are often surprising reasons to ask — or to avoid — certain questions. This blog discusses what you should and should not ask in voir dire.

#1 – The Reptile Brain Strategy: Why Lawyers Use It and How to Counter It

Our clients have come to us frequently asking about a plaintiff strategy called the “Reptile Approach.” Dr. Christina Marinakis and John Wilinski, M.A. tackle the topic in this Insights Blog providing a brief general overview of the Reptile Approach and offering a few simple suggestions for defending against it.