Category Archives: Writings

Francis Scott Key Was a Lawyer. Don’t Be Like Him.

Get a piece of paper and a pen, and try the following puzzle. Seriously, try it—it will make this much more fun and you might learn something kind of profound. Ready? Here is the challenge:

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Beware the Stranger With An Agenda (B.T.W. … It’s You)

I have served and observed thousands of lawyers over 23 years, and gotten to know their thinking, strategy, intentions, and performance both preparing for and conducting jury trials. And I have become convinced that there is one barrier at the … Continue reading

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Rich on the Celebrity Court radio show

I spoke today with Elizabeth Kelley about the civil lawsuit the heirs of Michael Jackson brought against AEG Live, going into Week 13. I’m at about the 20-minute mark, though the first two guests should not be missed. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/celebritycourtradio/2013/07/21/celebritycourt  

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More Lawyer Vocabulary Banishments, by the Torquemada of Text

(This continues the discussion from Wednesday, June 26th.)

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Lawyer Vocabulary Banishments, by the Torquemada of Text

Fish do not think they are wet. If they thought about it at all, they might think you are dry. But just going along their fishy paths, leading their fishy lives, they give no thought to their own wetness. They … Continue reading

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On Video Depositions… Because Sometimes Jurors See Clips

Why would a jury guy be talking about video depositions? Because clips from video depositions are often shown to jurors in trial.

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Leveraging Mediations Into Good Settlements

(This is my article published in the June 3, 2013 edition of ‘The Recorder’)

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The Ten Commandments of Objections

1. Thou shalt know with thy whole heart that jurors don’t like objections. They want the truth and believe the objector is trying to hide the truth from them. So know that there is a cost for every objection. It … Continue reading

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Supplemental Juror Questionnaires, Part 3: Oh, The Data You’ll Know

The Questions Themselves: Part Social Science, Part Strategy Often, questionnaires written by lawyers are… well… Look, a lawyer attempting social science based only on intuitive commonsense is like watching social scientists try to practice law with only intuitive commonsense. Which … Continue reading

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Supplemental Juror Questionnaires, Part 2: This Time, It’s Quizzical

I invite you to read the previous post, “Supplemental Juror Questionnaires, Part 1” before reading this. Or not. Your call.  – Rich The SJQ Introduction: Include a Welcome, Some Thanks, And Always Use Normal Human English So by way of … Continue reading

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Supplemental Juror Questionnaires, Part 1

“Everything we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see.” – Martin Luther King, Jr. The Importance of Juror Questionnaires Earlier this week, I came into possession of a supplemental juror questionnaire that is a thing … Continue reading

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Voir Dire: Doing Less Gets You More

There’s a cutesy old saying that “god gave you two ears and one mouth, and they should be used in that proportion.” Well, the thing about being the creator of the universe is that you don’t have to pick juries … Continue reading

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‘The Recorder’ published an article of mine on mediation

It will be in the print edition on Monday, June 3, 2013, and is online now: http://www.law.com/jsp/ca/PubArticleCA.jsp?id=1202602241571&In_Practice_When_Jury_Trial_Meets_Mediation&slreturn=20130501101746 I will publish it here when I get permission from American Legal Media. It’s about leveraging mediations into settlements by using two different methods … Continue reading

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Voir Dire: Where the Mind Meets the Mouth

Job Number One of any lawyer conducting voir dire is lowering the barriers to communication. What are the barriers that jurors might have to opening up to you? Being in an unfamiliar building and room, but more powerfully, being in … Continue reading

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The Five Do’s and 12,000 Don’ts of Opening Statements

I sat through some opening statements the other day, and can only just now talk about it. Even now, at some points in the story, I feel like pointing to a doll to communicate exactly where and how the two … Continue reading

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More On Jury Selection (Don’t Read That Aloud Too Quickly—Sounds Insulting)

I found a couple more notes from the jury pick I mentioned in the May 5 post. The big themes: in jury selection, keep your language simple and clear, and keep your questions open. When Lawyers Talk Like Lawyers, It … Continue reading

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