Give Jurors a Clear Process for Deliberations

October 9th, 2019|The Sound Jury Library (Sound Jury Consulting)|

By Thomas M. O’Toole, Ph.D. A key milestone in any jury deliberation is the selection of the process for deliberations. At some point early in the deliberations, a process for the discussion is established. Jurors either verbally decide on a process or they simply default to one. By process, I mean the way in which they discuss the issues in order to reach a verdict. There are many different ways they can approach the discussion of the issues, and that process is important because it fundamentally influences the outcome. For example, if the process begins with everyone going around and

Train Your Witness to Combat Simplistic Equivalence

October 7th, 2019|Persuasive Litigator (Persuasion Strategies)|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm: God is Love Love is Blind Stevie Wonder is Blind Therefore, Stevie Wonder is God That’s an exaggerated version of a kind of fallacious thinking that is often used in witness examination. It is a form of the “transitive property” in logic, If A=B, and B=C, then A=C. This idea, however, is rarely successful in making the transition from the absolute terms of mathematics or formal logic to the more relative terms of human language. But that doesn’t stop examining attorneys from trying. For example, a version of this equivocation in a questioning strategy might go as follows:

Making Your Case Relevant to Millennial Jurors

October 3rd, 2019|The Sound Jury Library (Sound Jury Consulting)|

By Thomas M. O’Toole, Ph.D. It’s hard being in a place where you don’t speak the same language as those around you. Where everyone dresses differently. Where you don’t understand their values or what causes them to act in certain ways. It can make you feel overwhelmed, vulnerable, and make you long for home. Am I talking about traveling abroad? Not quite. I’m talking about millennials on your jury. Millennials are a hot topic among lawyers these days, mainly because their presence on juries around the country continues to grow. A lot of people like to adopt a “kids these

Appreciate the Nuance of a Theme

October 3rd, 2019|Persuasive Litigator (Persuasion Strategies)|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm: When you are working on boiling down your message, there will often be that indefinable “something” that makes you recognize when you have the right language. A good trial theme, for example, doesn’t just summarize the strength of your case. As I’ve waxed before, the right theme will be based in language that “rolls off the tongue and sticks in the memory.” And studying exactly what makes words do that could be one’s life’s work. It is not just a matter of science, but a matter of poetry as well. Science, however, sometimes adds an interesting stanza. It

Talk to the Boss

October 3rd, 2019|2's Company - Magnus Insights|

Many years ago when we were first starting Magnus, we learned a lesson, the hard way, about trusting clients, even prior clients, or their associates, when making research plans. We met with a client from our prior employer, at his request, and we came up a research plan for one of his cases. After the meeting, I sent a proposal, and because the attorney was busy and traveling, I communicated with the associate attorney working for the lead attorney – the prior client. He confirmed the research plans and assured us that everything was on track. Time was tight and

Treat Trust as a Layered Thing

September 23rd, 2019|Persuasive Litigator (Persuasion Strategies)|

By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm: The government often plays a background role in civil litigation. An action, decision, or product from one party might meet the government’s regulations, for example. The question that raises is “Are the regulators trusted?” That question, it turns out, does not really have a simple “Yes” or “No” answer. Trust has been measured in fairly common ways, both in the social science research as well as in the practical experience of trial consultants. When it comes to the government, for example, the focus is often on what the government does and whether the citizen supports or