“Don’t say the old lady screamed ……..Bring her on….And let her scream…..”
That is the sage and strategic advice from one of the masters of persuasive storytelling…. Mark Twain.
Twain’s words are profoundly “on mark” and could be an informal mantra for how Lawyers should prepare their case presentations.
Twain’s call for “show, don’t tell” is a winning strategy to help convey an Opening Statement to tell a story to the jury…
People actually remember things best in story format. But not just any story – it has to be told right.
There can’t be too many details….. or the story structure gets lost.
Each sentence has to move the story forward in time…. Otherwise…. you’re telling details…. not a story. It must move chronologically.
We all connect to stories, especially ones that involve good vs. evil…. and that remind us of our shared histories.
We especially want the good—often the underdog—to beat the bad.
The battle that often rages in civil court is the money-seeking unworthy plaintiff motif… against the uncaring defendants who will not admit the wrong they have caused.
And Without a good story… Jurors have nothing to grasp hold of.
In this INSIDER EXCLUSIVE TV Special…we go Behind the Headlines of some of America’s most important publicized trials to share 10 of the most successful Trial Rules used by successful lawyers to win their cases, in “Winning Jury verdicts with the power of stories”
And as our special guest today… we are honored to visit with Robert Kahlke, Ptr @ Robert Pahlke Law Group & Past President of Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys …to discuss some of his cases
and how he has successfully used these proven 10 Trial Rules in the courtroom
“Stories are about people”…..This is Rule No. 1 …..for a reason.
Lawyers often get lost in law and details… and lose site of the people that make their case have meaning.
Any time an lawyer can get beyond the mere facts of the case, and get to the story behind that case….
Then they are doing a great service to their client.
Rule #2 ….. “Let your characters speak for themselves”
While a true storyteller can create drama and interest by developing a compelling story and revealing facts along the way….. it’s much harder for an lawyer who really has to lay out the facts in a more direct way.
However, the use of visuals such as animations, graphics, video, storyboards and time lines can go a long way toward creating interest where boredom can reign.
Everyone loves to see a case presented like the INSIDER EXCLUSIVE Investigative TV Series…. Produces its Documentaries… because it’s much easier to understand and more powerful. We believe what we see.
Rule #3 …. “Stories stir up emotions”.
This truth of storytelling is…. not surprisingly…. near and dear to my heart.
Any good story doesn’t just tell a jury or judge that the other side is wrong…… it shows…. with vivid detail and images…. the facts and circumstances involved…. which evokes the desire to right a wrong.
Rule #4…. “Stories are the window in which we enter other people’s lives, connect with them, and discover our similarities”
The hunger for story is ingrained in every human being. We humans seek and thrive on story to connect with our fellow man…. pass down history and to teach.
“Telling stories and being curious about the stories of others is a way of life as much as it is a technique of in?uence.
In the Courtroom… Lawyers provide the words, and the visuals show the jury or judge what happened….. And why it was wrong….And why your side should prevail.
Rule #5…. “Stories have at least one “moment of truth”
“The best stories show us something about how we should treat ourselves, others or the world around us.” No question about this.
The best closing argument….. the best presentation at a mediation….. or the best discussion with opposing counsel…. summarizes a whole case in a simple description that encapsulates ….the right or wrong and highlights a larger truth.
Rule #6 ….. “Stories have a clear meaning”
What is the case about? Can you answer that question in one concise sentence that connects on an emotional level and not only on a factual level? A case with a clear meaning is much more powerful than a case presented as a string of facts.
A case is about a wrong or a right …..and about the people involved.
Every case has meaning that goes beyond the facts that create or defeat liability.
Ask yourself….. Why does this matter? What’s at stake, and who is involved?
Rule #7 ….. “Simple Jury Persuasion: Do Slogans still work?
Would “if it doesn’t fit, you must acquit” still work?”
Catchy slogans, phrases and themes have long been the hallmark of a persuasive courtroom presentation. But new research throws a question on whether they are as effective as we would like to think
The best trial lawyers that the INSIDER EXCLUSIVE have featured in its Documentaries…..are the ones who knew when to stop talking. Sure, they seemed to know what to say… but further….they knew when it had been said.
More is not necessarily better. Too much information is overwhelming and is simply tuned out
What matters is that you KISS: keep it simple…Real simple.
Rule #8… “In Closing…. Treat Your Jurors as Advocates”
Remember, You Aren’t Just Persuading….. You Are Persuading the Persuaders.
You aren’t just influencing the decision maker…. you are preparing the decision maker for subsequent discussions with the “undecided”.
In addition to convincing the undecided jurors, you are also equipping the rest for the advocacy that will ensue during deliberations.
Rule #9 – “Remember to Give Your Champions Both Swords and Shields”
Closing arguments can and do turn favorable jurors into advocates, able to instrumentally use arguments on your behalf.
Even for those jurors who have already decided or are strongly leaning as of closing arguments, your converts will still need both a sword and a shield in the upcoming deliberations….. they’ll need to be armed with good arguments (swords), and prepared to resist the arguments of jurors on the other side (shields).
Finally….Rule #10…. “Remember That Your Jury is Always Smarter than Your Juror”
Individual jurors can miss a lot, but the collective jury doesn’t miss much at all.
Ultimately, when you are persuading a jury, you are persuading a group, and that means aiming not just to convince….. but to enable productive argument.
“As a trial lawyer…and as a storyteller, Lawyers practice a kind of magic…the most powerful magic on earth”
You are myth makers and poets……and it is myth that consciously and subconsciously guides every human being on this planet…for good or evil.
Your words and the manner in which you use them… may have an enormous impact on individuals…. Communities… nations… the world … and world history.
The ancient peoples of the world knew the power of the word.
In the Old Testament, the Hebrew Scriptures, God created the heavens and the earth…. not by waving a magic wand… but by speaking words.
The Ancients believed that your soul was your breath… that words, created by breath, came from your soul… from the immortal part of your being… hence… they were sacred. And powerful.
The Gospel of John in the New Testament begins: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God…and the Word was God.
And the Word ….. was God. Indeed it was. And still is.
You can contact our featured lawyer, Robert Pahlke @ The Robert Pahlke Law Group http://www.pahlkelawgroup.com/about.htm or (308)-633-4444.