Pew Research: The racial divide keeps on growing  between American generations

September 18th, 2018|

Pew Research Center continually puts out well-researched and well-written reports on data generated by their surveys of the American public. They have a newer report out on how generational status is related to views of racial discrimination. Pew comments on the report this way:  “Generational differences have long been a factor in U.S. politics. These divisions are now as wide as they have been in decades, with the potential to shape politics well into the future. From immigration and race to foreign policy and the scope of government, two younger generations, Millennials and Gen Xers, stand apart from the two

Think About Transitions

September 17th, 2018|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm: It is one of the basics emphasized in your first public speaking class: Have a clear transition between your main points. But it is also a rule that many experienced communicators set aside or start taking for granted. As you become more comfortable with your content and your audience, you can fall victim to that fundamental adaptation error: the belief that your audience is tracking right along with you. And when you move from one point to the next, the change seems clear and obvious, to you. But is it clear to the audience? Often, not nearly as clear.

Making Delivery an Equal Partner with Content

September 15th, 2018|

I was standing around a table with some lawyers after a CLE I had just spoken at where I had (apparently provocatively) stated, “Delivery is not the little sister of content in persuasive speaking, she’s the twin sister. In the litigation community these days delivery is jealous of her sister because content gets so much more attention!” When I was a Graduate Teaching Associate, one of our lesson plans was to have the Speech and Communication 101 student evaluate the persuasiveness of four different versions of the same speech. The versions were: Good delivery, bad content Good delivery, good content

Watch The Weather Channel Use Animation to Persuade

September 14th, 2018|

This weekend, television news is sure to be dominated by Hurricane Florence. Many of us will watch the all-too-familiar scenes of high waves hitting the coastline and reporters being blown about by powerful winds. It's almost routine from a TV-watching perspective. But one unusually persuasive graphic caught my attention this week. Did you happen to see the Weather Channel’s storm surge simulation? I think it’s brilliant, and it potentially offers some lessons for forward-thinking trial counsel. The simulation begins at the 55-second mark in the video below:     When I started A2L 23 years ago, most potential jurors were seeing

Damages: Know Your Anchor

September 13th, 2018|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm: For plaintiffs, the topic of monetary damages can be a bit of a mystery. In making the request to a jury, the appropriately named ad damnum, the question is: How much? Obviously, more is better, but common sense and experience probably tell you that there is a point at which higher requests bear diminishing returns, or even bounce back on themselves resulting in lower verdicts, or even, God forbid, a point at which the extreme request causes jurors to doubt the motives behind the suit and question their liability determination. The level at which one should propose,

Voir Dire Questions: Where Do I Start?

September 12th, 2018|

As we’ve discussed in detail previously, the right voir dire questions are those that lead you toward achieving two main objectives:  1) identifying jurors whose attitudes do not align with your client or your case, and 2) establishing the foundation for cause challenges.  When done correctly, effective voir dire prevents your verdict from resting in […] The post Voir Dire Questions: Where Do I Start? appeared first on Litigation Insights.

Judgments on social media: Hate speech from  women versus hate speech from men

September 11th, 2018|

We’ve all seen this finding before: men who communicate their ideas forcefully are seen as assertive and as having leadership qualities. Women who communicate their ideas forcefully are judged more harshly and negatively. What about hate speech on social media? Are women judged more harshly than men there?  Please. You really have to ask? Of course women are judged more harshly for hate speech on social media!  And it doesn’t matter if you are a woman speaking hate or speaking what is called “counter [hate] speech” You are going to get blasted either way. This new article was published in

Some Lessons for Defendants From the Talc Liability Trials

September 10th, 2018|

I’ve been watching the baby powder/talc trials closely for the past several years. They feature some of the world’s best lawyers, and they are pushing the boundaries of scientific evidence. For anyone in the litigation business, the talc trials, as well as the trials involving the alleged cancer-causing properties of Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup, form a fascinating window into how big-ticket cases are being tried right now. In both lines of cases, plaintiffs are showing early dominance, and I think the defense accordingly needs to adjust both how it handles demonstrative evidence and how it deals with scientific evidence. Interestingly, both

Don’t Shy Away from Politics (in Jury Selection)

September 10th, 2018|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm: Our ability to understand and to talk to each other is increasingly determined by our political leanings. When we all sit down for family Thanksgiving in a couple of months, politics is likely to be off limits at many tables. But is it also off limits in the courtroom during voir dire? Some judges and some attorneys seem to think so. The feeling is that asking about politics is too direct and potentially threatening, creating the feeling that you’re invading the privacy of the voting booth, or asking about personal details that don’t seem germane to the case. And

Account for Recency in Jury Deliberations

September 6th, 2018|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm: The common expression of the recency effect, “Save the best for last,” says that the latter parts of a message will stick in the memory and be ready for later use. The importance of that effect in your trial message has gained some recent and somewhat unexpected support thanks to some research on the effects of allowing jurors to talk about the case without waiting for deliberations. Predeliberation jury discussion is an increasingly popular jury innovation said to make trials more comprehensible and engaging for jurors without biasing the result. The research, however, puts that into question. Two researchers