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Should I Shave My Beard Before Trial

Lately, we have received several questions from male clients regarding jurors’ impressions of beards. Do they make an attorney look more distinguished? Does a beard add credibility or hurt it? Jurors have many cues to use when evaluating the credibility of an attorney, and physical appearance is certainly one of those cues. So, based on […]

Is It Better to Have Greater or Fewer Peremptory Strikes?

While the number of peremptory strikes allotted is typically prescribed by statute, there are some instances – such as when there are multiple defendants – where statutes may provide the parties with additional strikes.  Many of these provisions require the judge to make an interpretation of the rule or determine whether parties on the same […]

The Reptile Brain Strategy: Why Lawyers Use it and How to Counter it

Over the past few years, we have heard much consternation from our clients regarding a plaintiff strategy called the “Reptile Approach.”  During this time, we have seen this approach become more and more popular – not to mention effective – during depositions and trial among plaintiff attorneys.  This Insights Blog provides a brief general overview […]

Should Jurors Take Notes During Trial?

The practice of allowing jurors to take written notes during trial is more widely accepted than it used to be, especially with cases becoming increasingly complex and lengthy in duration. In most (but not all) jurisdictions, whether members of a jury are allowed to take notes will depend upon the judge’s discretion. One judge may […]

How Long Should Opening Statements in a Trial Last?

In a recent article, we explored how long closing arguments should be (hint: the shorter the better).  Yet almost just as often as we are asked how long a closing should be, we are asked how long an opening statement should last.  This answer is a little different.  First, though, let’s take a look at […]

The Best Time to Prepare Your Trial Graphics

Each new case brings a special pressure you know all too well: budgeting your time and your client’s money efficiently and effectively. Along the way, crucial elements, such as your trial graphics, may fall by the wayside, but waiting too long to begin work on them may prove costly. Given their persuasive and communicative power […]

How Long Should Closing Arguments Last in a Trial?

Toward the end of a grueling, contentious, four-month-long insurance coverage trial, I was summoned to the courtroom by the trial team. They were in the midst of a conference with the judge and the other side, addressing the logistics of closings. “The other side wants to close for an entire day. Should we give it […]

Should a Witness Look at the Jury? Keys to Effective Courtroom Eye Contact

Picture this:  You’re in a room with several people.  You’re having a discussion with all of them, but you only look at one person.  Is that how conversations are supposed to work?  No, because when having a conversation, we have been socialized to include everyone in the conversation.  We may not talk directly to everyone, […]

SJQ: Making Changes to an Existing Juror Questionnaire

In previous issues of Insights, we have discussed the value of having a trial supplemental juror questionnaire (SJQ) and some strategies for improving the likelihood an SJQ will be accepted in a case. Sometimes, however, the question is not whether we should create an SJQ for use in trial, but how best to repurpose an […]

Part IV – Trial Graphic Fundamentals: Guidelines for Trial

This blog is the fourth in a series that focuses on the fundamentals of trial graphics. Its content is based on a program Adam Bloomberg, Litigation Insights’ Managing Director for Visual Communications, co-presented with Bryant Spann, Partner at Thomas Combs & Spann PLLC, at the 2014 Midyear Meeting of the International Association of Defense Counsel […]

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