Legal Tactics That Are 40 Years Outdated
Remember 1975? No personal computers. No smartphones. No GPS. No DNA fingerprinting. Not even Prozac*.
Who would run a law practice today relying on the courtroom strategies employed in those bygone days? You would think the answer is no one.
Yet when it comes to the tactics that a majority of lawyers use today to select a jury and evaluate witnesses, the state-of the-art is still – amazingly - 40 years old or even older.
The Jury Whisperer has advanced the process of jury selection, document and witness evaluation to where it belongs, on the cutting-edge of 21st Century effective courtroom stewardship.
Working together, legal veterans Carole Gold and Shelley Albert deliver a thoroughly modern, synergistic and potent combination of talents that is without peer.
(*Do you still rely on a Sony Walkman for your portable music entertainment? If you do, you’re relying on a technology that is more modern that most of today’s antiquated jury selection methods. The Walkman was first introduced in 1979.)
Perhaps you’re skeptical. I can’t blame you.
Whether you call it rapid cognition, hunches, divination, premonition or clairvoyance, the notion that you will be a more successful lawyer – winning more cases, more readily – by harnessing this impalpable talent may be hard to accept.
Yet you witness such foreknowledge in action in everyday settings. It’s the mother who senses things have gotten a little too quiet in the playroom. The car salesman who knows a buyer – not just a looker - has walked onto the lot. The outfielder who takes a few extra steps toward the warning track just in time to prevent an extra-base hit. And the driver who slows even before visually spotting the radar off to the side of the highway.
In the courtroom, such intuition is a strategic ace in the hole. I know. I am both a natural-born intuitive and an accomplished lawyer. The edge that I provide will make the critical difference in your case’s outcome.
Lest you think the evidence for intuition is purely anecdotal, let me assure you there is a growing body of scientific study to validate it. More about that in a minute.
Right now I want you to picture these courtroom scenarios.
- You observe and listen to a prospective juror and know with near perfect certainty whether he or she is being fully honest during the voire dire process.
- Perhaps the potential jurors are telling the truth, but have a visceral dislike of you or your client. You’re able to tap into more than what they’re saying; you have a window on what they’re thinking and feeling.
- During discovery you are able to quickly dispense with irrelevancies, zeroing in on testimony and evidence that are incomplete, obscuring full disclosure, or intentionally misleading.
- Your cross examination is underway and you know precisely the moment when the witness abandons the truth or becomes deliberately evasive.
Perhaps you’re recalling that on occasion when you’ve relied on your gut instincts at trial, you’ve been badly burned. No more such “nonsense” for you – you’ll stick to the facts, thank you.
Truth be told, not everyone is gifted with accurate intuition. It’s why art and money forgers often fool even the so-called experts. Why teams of highly paid MBAs and marketing gurus, backed by focus groups and a forest’s worth of research reports, gave the world “New Coke.” It’s the explanation for how dedicated police officers, with years of experience, still sometimes mistake a toy gun for the real thing, or shoot an unarmed suspect in “self defense.”
Intuition is a gift that few are blessed with and even fewer are able to hone and master with experience. I have worked diligently for decades to refine my intuitive skills. It’s the sense I use first…not hearing or sight. It’s positioned me to be able to coach others and help them achieve success.
As to the science of intuition, Malcolm Gladwell, author of five New York Times bestsellers has recently shined a bright light upon this valuable skill. Malcolm has won a national magazine award and been honored by the American Psychological Society and the American Sociological Society.
In his landmark book Blink, he synthesizes the growing science of rapid cognition into a compelling work that helps explain why “the best decisions [are] often those that are impossible to explain to others.”
Besides his own interviews with scientists and psychologists, and his citations to their works in Blink, Malcolm also offers a valuable suggested reading list of other books on the topic at his website, www.Gladwell.com. These include:
- Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious by Timothy Wilson
- How to Use Your Gut Feelings to Make Better Decisions at Work by Gary Klein
- Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain by Antonio Damasio
- Intuition: Its Powers and Perils by David Myers
There was a time when few lawyers looked to non-verbal communication, such as body language and facial expression, as tools in jury selection and witness evaluation. Why? Because it, too, was considered mock-science.
So it is with discerning what jurors and witnesses are truly feeling and thinking. I acknowledge that I’m on the leading edge when it comes to this potent litigation tool, and you can join me.
Winning cases, especially difficult ones, is the goal. When the foreman reads the verdict you’ve argued, the judge rules for your client, or opposing counsel accepts your settlement offer, the sense of accomplishment is what it’s all about.
I don’t have to be clairvoyant to know with 100% certainty that you would enjoy having that winning feeling even more frequently that you have.
To evolve from a skeptic in the power of legal intuition to a believer takes time and inquiry. It requires education and a careful review of the evidence. Discussing your doubts and concerns with me is a positive next step.
The first case you win with my help will go a long way toward converting you into an attorney who wouldn’t dream of proceeding through discovery, selecting a jury or trying a case without me.
I invite your inquiries.