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Authors

KenLopez resized 152

Ken Lopez founded A2L Consulting in 1995. The firm has since worked with litigators from all major law firms on more than 10,000 cases with over $2 trillion cumulatively at stake.  The A2L team is comprised of psychologists, jury consultants, trial consultants, litigation consultants, attorneys and information designers who provide jury consulting, litigation graphics and trial technology.  Ken Lopez can be reached at lopez@A2LC.com.


ryanflax blog litigation consultant 

Ryan H. Flax, Esq., Managing Director, Litigation Consulting, joined A2L Consulting on the heels of practicing Intellectual Property (IP) law as part of the Intellectual Property team at Dickstein Shapiro LLP, a national law firm based in Washington, DC.  Over the course of his career, Ryan has obtained jury verdicts totaling well over $1 billion in damages on behalf of his clients and has helped clients navigate the turbulent waters of their competitors’ patents.  Ryan can be reached at flax@a2lc.com.


dr laurie kuslansky jury consultant a2l consulting
Laurie R. Kuslansky, Ph.D, Managing Director, Trial & Jury Consulting, has conducted over 400 mock trials in more than 1,000 litigation engagements over the past 20 years. Dr. Kuslansky's goal is to provide the highest level of personalized client service possible whether one's need involves a mock trial, witness preparation, jury selection or a mock exercise not involving a jury. Dr. Kuslansky can be reached at kuslansky@A2LC.com.

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The Top 14 Litigation Consulting Articles You Loved from Q1-2014

 

 

top 14 litigation consulting report articlesby Ken Lopez
Founder/CEO
A2L Consulting

Since we publish articles a few times per week, it's easy to miss some of the great content posted at A2L's Litigation Consulting Report blog. Also, with so much valuable content, we know it's hard to read it all. That's why we publish four quarterly best-of articles, an annual best-of article and a best-of article every time we publish an additional 100 articles. The list included here covers our very top articles of the first quarter of 2014, as measured by the number of times these articles were read.

The first quarter saw our highest readership ever with tens of thousands of visits to our litigation-focused blog. All told, 61% more people visited in the first quarter of 2014 than visited in 2013. That's quite an increase!

We have definitely noticed an increase in readership since being named one of the top 100 legal industry blogs and one of the top 10 litigation blogs by the American Bar Association at the end of 2013. We are approaching 4,300 subscribers who get notified of new articles as they are published, and invite you to subscribe to the Litigation Consulting Report for free here.

Enjoy these articles from the Litigation Consulting Report, and share them using the LinkedIn and Twitter buttons below.

14. 11 Problems with Mock Trials and How to Avoid Them

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13. How To Emotionally Move Your Audience

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12. Why Reading Your Litigation PowerPoint Slides Hurts Jurors

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11. 10 Things Litigators Can Learn From Newscasters

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10. 12 Ways to SUCCESSFULLY Combine Oral and Visual Presentations

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9. FREE 250-Page Complex Civil Litigation E-Book

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8. 16 Litigation Graphics Lessons for Mid-Sized Law Firms

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7. 11 Traits of Great Courtroom Trial Technicians

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6. The Top 30 Litigation Articles Out of Our First 300 Articles

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5. Like It or Not: Likeability Counts for Credibility in the Courtroom

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4. 2 Metrics Showing Litigation Shifting to Midsize Law Firms

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3. Witness Preparation: The Most Important Part

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2. 7 Things Expert Witnesses Should Never Say

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1. 16 PowerPoint Litigation Graphics You Won't Believe Are PowerPoint

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About A2L Consulting

•  Leading national litigation consulting firm since 1995

•  Personnel nationwide

•  Routinely voted #1 for demonstrative evidence consulting, jury consulting or intellectual property litigation consulting nationally

•  Consulted for all major law firms on 10,000+ cases with trillions of dollars cumulatively at stake offering:

Trial Consulting: mock trials, Micro-Mock™, mock Markman hearings, jury consulting, shadow juries, jury selection and more; 

Trial Graphics: legal graphics and litigation graphics, courtroom animation, video, printed foam core trial exhibits, PowerPoint presentation consulting, simplifying the case story and more; 

Trial Technology & Onsite Personnel: ebriefs (electronic briefs), hot seat operators, trial technicians, courtroom presentations and more; 

Look for A2L trial consultants, graphics consultants and jury consultants in Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD, New York, NY, Boston, MA, Alexandria, VA, Atlanta, GA, Miami, FL, Chicago, IL, Houston, Texas, Los Angeles, CA, and San Francisco, California, Wilmington, Delaware, Philadelphia, PA, Phoenix, AZ, San Antonio, Palo Alto, Dallas, Detroit, Baltimore, Cleveland, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, Richmond, VA, Salt Lake City, Denver, London, Dublin, Johannesburg, Brussels and many other cities and countries around the world. A2L Contact Information


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7 Tips to Take “Dire” out of Voir Dire

 


voir dire jury selection a2l consultingby Laurie R. Kuslansky, Ph.D.
Managing Director, Jury & Trial Consulting
A2L Consulting

Jury selection certainly can have dire consequences. A case can be won or lost in voir dire. All you need is one or two strident enemy jurors to pull you down. The truth, typically, is that extremists are removed through cause or peremptory challenges. Who remains tends to be mildly favorable or unfavorable, saddled next to ones who hardly care. The key in voir dire is to identify extremists and understand what it will take to satisfy those who are left. 

How can you do that?

1. Invite doubters to admit their doubt of your client, for example: 
  • Can you guarantee that, if the plaintiff doesn’t prove its case based on the evidence, you will find for my client? (Or, for plaintiff: Can you guarantee that, if the plaintiff does prove its case based on the evidence, you would find for my client?)
  • Is there any reason you’d give the benefit of the doubt to the other side?  Explain.
  • Please explain if there’s any reason you couldn’t give my client the benefit of the doubt.
  • There are many reasons why people don’t look at both sides in a lawsuit the same way.
  • Does anything stand out to you about my client that puts them at a disadvantage? Explain.
  • Many people have had experiences that come to mind when they are on a jury. What have you experienced that comes to mind in this case?
  • Lots of people have strong opinions. Can you think of anything about this case that strikes a chord? Explain.
  • Do you have any training, education or experience that makes you feel you’d be especially good at understanding the facts of this case? Describe that. If not, would you feel uncomfortable with this type of information for any reason?
  • Please raise your hand if, for any reason, both sides of this lawsuit aren’t completely equal in your mind. Explain.

 

2. For jurors you don’t like, but can’t strike (either rejected on a cause challenge or you’ve run out of peremptory strikes), distinguish how this case/your client differs from their bias against you. For example:
    • I understand that you have a certain distrust for doctors based on your own experience.  Does it make a difference for you that the doctor involved in this case is not actually a defendant? Why/not?
    • You mentioned a bad experience with a tax advisor.  Is it fair to assume that the issue was not because you gave incorrect or false information to your advisor? Do you understand that in this case, the issue is whether or not the corporation which is suing its auditor provided honest information to the auditor and how that is different than what happened to you?

     

    storytelling persuasion courtroom litigation webinar

     

    3.  Don’t waste their time. 
    • Ask the fewest, but most pertinent questions. They will appreciate you respecting their time.
    • Don’t try to be too “cute;”  jurors think certain questions are silly and don’t understand how they relate to the case (“Do you have any bumper stickers?” “Do you read People magazine?”).  Only ask such questions if you have a strong reason to do so. Curiosity is insufficient.
    • Create a plan to be as efficient as possible during voir dire:
      • Check with the clerk what the judge’s procedures will be
      • Streamline the number of questions you propose to the judge if he or she asks the questions
      • Be organized in how you and your team will solicit information and keep track of it during the jury selection.  Fancy charts may not be what you need to keep notes/track and substitutions wreak havoc on the lovely seating plan once it changes.
      • Determine in advance who will do what (e.g., track cause information, watch for Batson issues, record the details of each juror, who will argue cause, who will have final say in peremptory strikes, how that decision will be made, etc.)

     

    4.     Don’t overload on cooks in the kitchen 
    • It is common for members of a trial team with little to no experience at jury selection to pipe in their opinions strongly during decision-making about the jury when the stakes are high, information is too scarce or too abundant, and time is very limited.  The “democratic” approach – in which everyone has a say -- is misguided and distracting at best, and can lead to very poor choices at worst. 
      • Naïve/inexperienced folks tend to over-emphasize one comment, disregard potential for leadership (or the lack thereof), or overlook serious red flags. Using a data-driven jury profile with an experienced jury consultant, teaming up with lead counsel, and factoring in the client’s opinion, is a safer and better way to go, typically. 
      • If there are other, experienced people on the team, plan to get their opinions and insights, but don’t engage in a debate with multiple people.  As they say, ”a camel is a horse designed by a committee.”  If you need a race horse, don’t decide by committee. Determine the hierarchy in advance.
      • To accomplish this approach successfully without stepping on toes, wasting time at crunch time, or hurting feelings – plan and discuss who will participate and how – before you get there so there’s no confusion or wasted time.

     

    5.     You can’t always get what you want, but ...
    • If you are the defense and want sophisticated, educated individuals on the jury, but there aren’t any, what else might work that is realistic? For example, can you bring the information down to a level that people with a high-school education can grasp? Can you use points of reference that resonate for lower income people?
    • If you can’t change the venue and the jury pool, what can you change for a better fit between your case story and the likely jury?
      • Are your themes understandable and likable to people from the local jury pool?
      • Have you researched what topics may be hot buttons to avoid or exploit?
      • Have you checked the local newspaper to ask pertinent questions on what prospective jurors have read and what opinions they’ve formed, if any?

     

    6.     Respect privacy
    • Understandably, there are often delicate subjects you must inquire about in voir dire, but the answers will only be as candid as the environment is not threatening and protects their privacy. 
      • Be sure to check in advance with the Court how they will approach issues that merit privacy and how the judge or clerk will orchestrate such inquiry.
      • Get the judge’s assurance, if possible, that they will advise prospective jurors that their privacy will be protected.
      • Be as broad-minded as possible in considering what prospective jurors might consider uncomfortable or embarrassing to reveal in open court (e.g., being demoted/fired, going bankrupt, getting divorced, etc.), in addition to more obvious issues (such a personal health, victimization experiences, etc.).

     

    Read 100+ Articles About A2L's Jury Consulting

     

    7.     Claim Territory to Command Respect
    • Really experienced trial lawyers know how to take over the courtroom and establish themselves, not only as the authority, but as someone who knows what’s going on, can be trusted, and someone looking out for the jurors. They seem to naturally and inadvertently become the guide, advising jurors what is happening and being the spokesperson during the voir-dire process – to the extent a judge may not participate or be present during jury selection – and immediately bond with prospective jurors and have more power. Say that person has more experience in that venue, so you let them do it, or the jury sees you deferring to them.  Not good.
    • Instead, learn the local rules and customs in the venue and with that judge – BEFORE—you are in front of prospective jurors.
    • If an opportunity arises to explain what is going on, make sure to participate and provide the information/assurance as needed (e.g., “We’re waiting for the Marshall to bring a few more people who may be jurors, then we will explain more about why we are here.”)  If you let your opponent do it, you are handing over the upper hand needlessly.
    • In doing so, don’t over-do it, i.e., you’re not the judge and you’re not the boss of everything, but if you can act as the jurors’ ambassador, that is a feather in your cap.

    By avoiding predictable pitfalls, you can establish an important rapport with prospective jurors and unearth dangers. Voir dire is important,  but it shouldn’t be dire.

    Here are some other A2L Consulting articles and resources related to voir dire, jury selection and trial consulting:

    jury consulting trial consulting jury research

    About A2L Consulting

    •  Leading national litigation consulting firm since 1995

    •  Personnel nationwide

    •  Routinely voted #1 for demonstrative evidence consulting, jury consulting or intellectual property litigation consulting nationally

    •  Consulted for all major law firms on 10,000+ cases with trillions of dollars cumulatively at stake offering:

    Trial Consulting: mock trials, Micro-Mock™, mock Markman hearings, jury consulting, shadow juries, jury selection and more; 

    Trial Graphics: legal graphics and litigation graphics, courtroom animation, video, printed foam core trial exhibits, PowerPoint presentation consulting, simplifying the case story and more; 

    Trial Technology & Onsite Personnel: ebriefs (electronic briefs), hot seat operators, trial technicians, courtroom presentations and more; 

    Look for A2L trial consultants, graphics consultants and jury consultants in Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD, New York, NY, Boston, MA, Alexandria, VA, Atlanta, GA, Miami, FL, Chicago, IL, Houston, Texas, Los Angeles, CA, and San Francisco, California, Wilmington, Delaware, Philadelphia, PA, Phoenix, AZ, San Antonio, Palo Alto, Dallas, Detroit, Baltimore, Cleveland, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, Richmond, VA, Salt Lake City, Denver, London, Dublin, Johannesburg, Brussels and many other cities and countries around the world. A2L Contact Information


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    What Can Lawyers Learn From The Presentation Style of Top Educators?

     

     

    lawyers educators presentation style professorby Ken Lopez
    Founder/CEO
    A2L Consulting

    I sit on the board of a university, and I am passionate about delivering high-quality advice and guidance to the institution. To improve the quality of my work and our board's work, board members are afforded the opportunity to attend a conference focused on how higher education can best be managed and delivered.

    At this three-day conference, a mix of keynote speeches and a series of small-group sessions creates an environment for learning about topics like effective university marketing, managing a university in an era of tight budgets, the value of a liberal arts education vs. skills training and much more.

    The conference material is interesting and valuable for me. However, my full-time job of helping litigators present at their very best is always on my mind. So, I love that a conference like this gives me a chance to see how others present, and I learn something about presentation technique from every presentation.

    There are two types of presenters at this conference. Several, like Dan Pink, are hired, world-class presenters who are well-known for their speaking quality. Most others, are university leaders and other experts in the field of higher education.

    Dan Pink's one-hour presentation was flawless. He delivered high-value content, he used visuals to complement his message, he morphed his message to match the needs of the audience, he delivered to all three learning styles, he used humor very well and he used a variety of rhetorical techniques to make his message memorable and understandable. He, a Yale-trained lawyer himself, presented like all litigators should present. Full disclosure: since Dan Pink mentioned A2L (then Animators at Law) in his second best-selling book, I'm certain he can do no wrong. With that caveat, he was still a perfect presenter.

    This brings me to the other presenters at the conference. A reminder, these are some of the world's top people in higher education. So, how well did they present? Imagine the worst CLE or classroom setting you've been in with a presenter reading bullet points. This was worse. Much worse. And I am disturbed by it.

    how to persuade visually arguments persuasive graphics

    I attended four break-out sessions with fifty or so people in the room. Each room had a screen and projector set up. Did the presenters use the technology? Not once. Not even in the session about technology in education! I've not seen anything like it in this century. Some of the best people in higher education failed to show any understanding of how people actually learn. Yikes.

    So, what can litigators learn about presentation style from some of the world's top educators? To quote a famous song, "Absolutely nothin'. Say it again."

    Well, that's not entirely accurate. Lawyers should actually pause for a moment and reflect on how far they have come these past twenty years. After all, the state of presentations in higher education is apparently quite similar to where the legal industry found itself in the 1990s. Many courtroom presentations and even many CLE presentations are actually quite good now.

    When I say "good" I certainly don't just mean pretty. Good presentations deliver results. They inspire, they inform or they do both. They use every trick in the book to do so. If you are still reading a lecture to a group of people and you want them to understand complicated material and take action, you are truly showing up to a gunfight with a knife.

    To help any presenter, whether a trial presentation in the courtroom or a corporate presentation, I have listed below some of A2L Consulting's most important articles related to making good presentations. If you are a presenter who is using visuals aids, using complementary rather than competing graphics, avoiding bullet points, not reading your slides, you're ahead of 90% of your peers and you are far ahead of higher education. Use these articles and resources below to become your best.

    Other A2L articles and materials related to delivering a great presentation:

    deliver great presentations inside and outside of the courtroom

    About A2L Consulting

    •  Leading national litigation consulting firm since 1995

    •  Personnel nationwide

    •  Routinely voted #1 for demonstrative evidence consulting, jury consulting or intellectual property litigation consulting nationally

    •  Consulted for all major law firms on 10,000+ cases with trillions of dollars cumulatively at stake offering:

    Trial Consulting: mock trials, Micro-Mock™, mock Markman hearings, jury consulting, shadow juries, jury selection and more; 

    Trial Graphics: legal graphics and litigation graphics, courtroom animation, video, printed foam core trial exhibits, PowerPoint presentation consulting, simplifying the case story and more; 

    Trial Technology & Onsite Personnel: ebriefs (electronic briefs), hot seat operators, trial technicians, courtroom presentations and more; 

    Look for A2L trial consultants, graphics consultants and jury consultants in Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD, New York, NY, Boston, MA, Alexandria, VA, Atlanta, GA, Miami, FL, Chicago, IL, Houston, Texas, Los Angeles, CA, and San Francisco, California, Wilmington, Delaware, Philadelphia, PA, Phoenix, AZ, San Antonio, Palo Alto, Dallas, Detroit, Baltimore, Cleveland, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, Richmond, VA, Salt Lake City, Denver, London, Dublin, Johannesburg, Brussels and many other cities and countries around the world. A2L Contact Information


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    Webinar - Integrating Argument and Expert Evidence in Complex Cases

     

     

    a2l iss scientific evidence webinar tallby Ken Lopez
    Founder/CEO
    A2L Consulting

    Over the past six months, we have conducted three litigation-focused webinars at A2L that have been extremely popular. Thousands of legal industry professionals attended those events live or have since watched the recorded versions we've made available. These popular webinars are listed below and can be watched at your convenience at no charge.

    Today, I am pleased to announce a new live webinar, How Can Litigators Meld Expert Evidence with Winning Arguments. It will be presented by three experts in litigation on Tuesday, May 6, 2014 at 1:30pm ET. You may register - at no charge - by clicking here or on any of the images in this article. If you are not sure of your schedule that day, register anyway, and you will be the first to hear about the availability of a recorded version.

    In this one-hour and fifteen-minute webinar, Ted Dunkelberger of Innovative Science Solutions will describe how to pick the best experts and how to make sure they are ready for trial based on his experience in hundreds of litigation engagements. Dr. David Schwartz, also of Innovative Science Solutions, will share how sophisticated litigation teams use both testifying and consulting experts to stay on message. Litigator turned litigation consultant Ryan Flax will share what he's learned about explaining complicated subject matter while trying complex cases for a dozen years helping to amass more than $1 billion in jury verdicts and now helping hundreds of top litigators as a litigation consultant at A2L.

    I know this webinar will appeal to anyone involved in litigation. After all, judges, jurors, experts and litigators all struggle with how best to manage science and other complicated materials at trial and throughout the litigation process. Say too much, and you overwhelm. Say too little, and you fail to persuade. Fail to give it all meaning, and you can lose the case.

    Properly explaining complex material during litigation starts with having the right experts and helping them to prepare. At A2L & ISS, we know what works in practice from decades of working successfully on complex cases - and - most importantly, we will tell you what works in this webinar.

    What topics will be covered?

    • The science behind explaining complex subjects
    • Finding and prepping the right expert
    • Organizing a scientific advisory team
    • Incorporating storytelling and other presentation tools to make experts and litigators highly effective when explaining complex subject matter
    I hope that you can join us for the How Can Litigators Meld Expert Evidence with Winning Arguments webinar.

     

    Integrating Expert Evidence and Argument in Complex Cases Webinar

    About A2L Consulting

    •  Leading national litigation consulting firm since 1995

    •  Personnel nationwide

    •  Routinely voted #1 for demonstrative evidence consulting, jury consulting or intellectual property litigation consulting nationally

    •  Consulted for all major law firms on 10,000+ cases with trillions of dollars cumulatively at stake offering:

    Trial Consulting: mock trials, Micro-Mock™, mock Markman hearings, jury consulting, shadow juries, jury selection and more; 

    Trial Graphics: legal graphics and litigation graphics, courtroom animation, video, printed foam core trial exhibits, PowerPoint presentation consulting, simplifying the case story and more; 

    Trial Technology & Onsite Personnel: ebriefs (electronic briefs), hot seat operators, trial technicians, courtroom presentations and more; 

    Look for A2L trial consultants, graphics consultants and jury consultants in Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD, New York, NY, Boston, MA, Alexandria, VA, Atlanta, GA, Miami, FL, Chicago, IL, Houston, Texas, Los Angeles, CA, and San Francisco, California, Wilmington, Delaware, Philadelphia, PA, Phoenix, AZ, San Antonio, Palo Alto, Dallas, Detroit, Baltimore, Cleveland, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, Richmond, VA, Salt Lake City, Denver, London, Dublin, Johannesburg, Brussels and many other cities and countries around the world. A2L Contact Information


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    17 Topics We Would Absolutely Love to Speak to Your Group About

     

     

    a2l litigation support speaking cleby Ken Lopez
    Founder/CEO
    A2L Consulting

    My colleagues and I at A2L work hard to be thought leaders in the litigation consulting and visual persuasion industries. So, it is fortunate that we are invited to speak at quite a large number of events every year. Not only do we speak at the legal conferences you'd probably guess we do, but we also have the opportunity to speak at CLE's, litigation lunches, partner retreats, online webinars and even non-legal industry conferences.

    In the past several years, I have participated in many such events in the legal industry. However, some of the most interesting events for me have been speaking at Salesforce.com's Dreamforce conference about professional services firms using salesforce, HubSpot's Inbound marketing conference about how to get started with content marketing, and one event I'm looking forward to in particular is a commencement address for the graduate campus of the University of Washington next month.

    My colleagues and I enjoy speaking, because we love what we do. Speakers at A2L Consulting include business experts, marketing experts, jury consulting experts, witness prep experts, visual persuasion experts, experts at communicating about science to lay audience, experts in PowerPoint usage and much more.

    Using a combination of traditional travel and modern videoconferencing, we speak at events around the world. For the vast majority of events that we participate in, we do so at absolutely no charge. In general, law firms, government agencies and corporations will cover out-of-pocket costs for CLE registration and travel where applicable. I think these events are a win-win for everyone involved.

    Below are 17 topics we would absolutely love to talk with your group about: 

    1. Using PowerPoint Litigation Graphics to Win at Trial: We have a CLE already approved in a number of states related to this topic. We also recently conducted a webinar version that is similar to the CLE. Watch the webinar PowerPoint litigation graphics webinar anytime here.

    2. Building Persuasive Visuals: For many years, we have been creating persuasive visuals outside of the courtroom environment. These visual persuasion devices are being used in lobbying presentations, to help motivate executives to take action, to influence the general public and much more. To learn more about building persuasive visual presentations, download our e-book, How to Build Persuasive and Engaging Presentations.

    3. Storytelling for Litigators: There is good science that supports the use of stories when persuading an audience. It's something that great litigators know intuitively, and it is something that any litigator can learn. We recently conducted a free online webinar called Using Storytelling as a Persuasion Tool that can be watched free anytime.

    storytelling persuasion courtroom litigation webinar

    4. How to Make and Use Powerful Trial Timelines: We have released a free e-book called The Litigation Guide to Trial Timelines, and this is a topic no courtroom-focused professional can avoid. Timelines are used at almost every trial, and making a good one is quite hard.

    5. Patent Litigation Graphics: Patent litigator Ryan Flax amazes new and veteran patent litigators by showing what works in patent litigation demonstrative evidence. He is a visual persuasion expert and contributed to more than $1 billion in jury verdicts while practicing. He recently conducted a free online webinar called Patent Litigation Visual Persuasion Techniques that can be watched here anytime.

    6. Communicating Scientific Concepts to a Lay Audience: We work with leading scientific consultants frequently. In a soon-to-be-announced free webinar, we'll discuss how to pick the best experts and how to communicate scientific concepts to judges, juries and the general public. In the meantime, we have a great e-book called Using Science to Prevail in Your Next Case or Controversy.

    7. Antitrust Litigation Graphics: As we recently wrote about in the just released Antitrust Litigation Guide to Trial Prep and Trial Presentation book, antitrust is a very challenging area for juries. The challenge of explaining economics, charts, graphs and equations is frequently underestimated by antitrust litigators - even in bench trials.

    8. Environmental Litigation Graphics: We consult on a lot of environmental litigation at A2L. There are common challenges from case to case that mostly have to do with helping experts in their testimony. We cover these topics and more in a related e-book The Environmental Litigation Trial Presentation & Trial Prep E-Book.

    9. Labor & Employment Litigation Graphics and Trial Consulting: Some of our team will be speaking to a government agency about this topic this week, and they are looking forward to it.

    10. Construction Litigation Graphics: It's been a few years since we presented at the Construction SuperConference, but our work in construction delay and defect cases has continued unabated. Here are some related construction litigation blog articles.

    11. How to Use Jury Consulting in a Valuable Way: Jury consulting is a misnomer for describing what we do. Our work frequently includes mock bench trials, mock appeal hearings, and witness preparation in addition to the traditional jury selection and mock trial services. Learning about how best to use trial consultants is a very valuable topic for litigators. We discuss many of these topics in our free Trial Consulting Handbook for Litigators.

    12. Life in the New Normal Legal Economy: We have written articles about alternative fee arrangements that we use, suggestions for in-house counsel on setting up preferred litigation support vendor programs, penned a series of articles targeted at emerging midsize litigation law firms, and have released a book about the New Normal Legal economy. It's a topic we clearly enjoy speaking about even when sometimes it makes us all a bit uncomfortable.

    13. Why Are So Many Opening Statements Ineffective: They don't have to be long to be strong, you should never say "I'll talk about that later," and what has to be accomplished in the first 5 minutes or you'll likely lose your case are all topics we are passionate and knowledgeable about.

    14. How to Really Assess and Prepare a Witness: We write about witnesses often, both lay and expert. Getting either prepared is something our people have done for decades. We have thousands of accumulated hours preparing witnesses and a correspondingly long list of tips and secrets to share. I think this article and this one do a good job describing our feelings about witness prep and witness testimony.

    15. How Important it is to Look at Non-Verbal Behavior in the Era of the Video Deposition: I am still stunned by watching the performances in these depositions, particularly the Justin Beiber depo. Learn how to manage your client from our experts. Sometimes it is easier, better and cheaper for an outsider to prepare the witness, and we'd love to discuss what we have learned from those experiences.

    16. Why Lawyer-Generated Graphics Don't Work: We don't want artists to practice law any more than we want lawyers preparing graphics. There are dozens of reasons for this, and we are happy to share them. Here's a blog post to get the ball rolling on lawyer-prepared graphics though.

    17. E-Briefing and Brief Writing in the Era of the iPad: Did you know that the way people read a page of text has changed in the last ten years? If you are still writing briefs the same way you did fifteen years ago, you're missing some easy opportunities to persuade quickly. Take a look at this discussion about ipads and hyperlinked e-briefs.

    If you would like to discuss a member of A2L's team speaking at your next event or have any other questions, please contact A2L's Director of Operations, Alex Brown at brown@A2LC.com or 800.337.7697 x121. We try to say yes to everything that we can given our hectic schedules. Whether it is a litigation lunch via video conference, an in-person CLE or whether it is a conference speaking opportunity, we would love to hear from you.

     

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    About A2L Consulting

    •  Leading national litigation consulting firm since 1995

    •  Personnel nationwide

    •  Routinely voted #1 for demonstrative evidence consulting, jury consulting or intellectual property litigation consulting nationally

    •  Consulted for all major law firms on 10,000+ cases with trillions of dollars cumulatively at stake offering:

    Trial Consulting: mock trials, Micro-Mock™, mock Markman hearings, jury consulting, shadow juries, jury selection and more; 

    Trial Graphics: legal graphics and litigation graphics, courtroom animation, video, printed foam core trial exhibits, PowerPoint presentation consulting, simplifying the case story and more; 

    Trial Technology & Onsite Personnel: ebriefs (electronic briefs), hot seat operators, trial technicians, courtroom presentations and more; 

    Look for A2L trial consultants, graphics consultants and jury consultants in Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD, New York, NY, Boston, MA, Alexandria, VA, Atlanta, GA, Miami, FL, Chicago, IL, Houston, Texas, Los Angeles, CA, and San Francisco, California, Wilmington, Delaware, Philadelphia, PA, Phoenix, AZ, San Antonio, Palo Alto, Dallas, Detroit, Baltimore, Cleveland, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, Richmond, VA, Salt Lake City, Denver, London, Dublin, Johannesburg, Brussels and many other cities and countries around the world. A2L Contact Information


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    Hurry Up and Wait - Using Silence in Depositions, Voir Dire and More

     

     

    silence deposition questions voir direLaurie R. Kuslansky, Ph.D.
    Managing Director, Jury & Trial Consulting
    A2L Consulting

    When are you most likely to get the best information? 

    When you say nothing at all.

    We frequently notice that — just as a deponent, as an afterthought, is about to drop good information — he or she is interrupted by an unaware, impatient questioner jumping to a new question.  It is in that magic moment when one is pensive and a truth is about to be revealed that somebody invariably steps on it and loses the moment. However, thinking (e.g., remembering facts and engaging in cognitive processing of the information, synthesizing it, reflecting on it and drawing inferences) takes time. 

    Some refer to the critical pause after asking a question or after getting a response as “Golden Silence” (Miller Heiman Conceptual Selling®)[1], described as:

    “… a technique where the salesperson asks a question and then allows three or four seconds of silence afterwards. Through its extensive research and experience, Miller Heiman learned that when faced with a Golden Silence, buyers will often open up and share an insight that helps both the buyer and the seller get a better grasp on the buyer's needs. Often, this leads to another question (based on the insight) followed by more silence and more insights. In this manner, salespeople are able to guide a meaningful, in-depth, and on-topic discussion that leads to a win-win where the customer's actual needs are met through a solution, not just through a product.”[2]

    Others (particularly in educational research) call it “wait-time.” [3] Increasing the typical wait time of 1 second to 3-7 seconds (after asking a question or after receiving an answer before speaking again) has significant benefits: the length of responses can increase between 300% and 700% or more![4] In addition, instead of short phrases that rarely involve explanations of any complexity, pausing for 3 seconds or more tends to yield more elaborate, detailed responses.

    So, the next time you ask a question or get an answer, the best thing you can do may very well be … nothing. Let silence do the heavy lifting.

    Other articles related to best practices around voir dire, depositions and legal communications techniques from A2L include:

    complex civil litigation ebook free


    [2] Ibid.

    [3] Rowe, Mary Budd. "Wait Time: Slowing Down May Be a Way of Speeding Up." AMERICAN EDUCATOR 11 (Spring 1987): 38-43, 47. EJ 351 827 at http://www.sagepub.com/eis2study/articles/Budd%20Rowe.pdf

    [4] Ibid.

     

     

    About A2L Consulting

    •  Leading national litigation consulting firm since 1995

    •  Personnel nationwide

    •  Routinely voted #1 for demonstrative evidence consulting, jury consulting or intellectual property litigation consulting nationally

    •  Consulted for all major law firms on 10,000+ cases with trillions of dollars cumulatively at stake offering:

    Trial Consulting: mock trials, Micro-Mock™, mock Markman hearings, jury consulting, shadow juries, jury selection and more; 

    Trial Graphics: legal graphics and litigation graphics, courtroom animation, video, printed foam core trial exhibits, PowerPoint presentation consulting, simplifying the case story and more; 

    Trial Technology & Onsite Personnel: ebriefs (electronic briefs), hot seat operators, trial technicians, courtroom presentations and more; 

    Look for A2L trial consultants, graphics consultants and jury consultants in Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD, New York, NY, Boston, MA, Alexandria, VA, Atlanta, GA, Miami, FL, Chicago, IL, Houston, Texas, Los Angeles, CA, and San Francisco, California, Wilmington, Delaware, Philadelphia, PA, Phoenix, AZ, San Antonio, Palo Alto, Dallas, Detroit, Baltimore, Cleveland, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, Richmond, VA, Salt Lake City, Denver, London, Dublin, Johannesburg, Brussels and many other cities and countries around the world. A2L Contact Information


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    Don't Be the 2% - 6 Ways to Encourage Settlement with Trial Prep

     

     

    encourage settlement case legal law trial prepLaurie R. Kuslansky, Ph.D.
    Managing Director, Litigation Consulting
    A2L Consulting

    While we have seen a decline in the number of cases that actually get tried, as opposed to the ones that get dismissed or settled, it is a small fraction. What does it take to be in that roughly 2% of cases that make it to trial?

    1. An unreasonable party or two, whether because it is personal, unrealistic expectations of a client unwilling to listen to counsel’s opinion, a desire to avoid finality without the ability to appeal, and the like.
    2. Parties play chicken and wait too long to initiate a settlement dialogue.
    3. Parties are too far apart in settlement discussions.
    4. Clients fear the impression a settlement may make for the future.

    If you don’t want to be in that 2% and you want to encourage settlement, what are your options to avoid it successfully?

    There are various choices one can make before reaching the courthouse steps to avoid getting into the courtroom. What we find is that until trial, “preparation” in earnest and the investment in it are not as significant as they may warrant if avoiding the courtroom is the better option.  For example, the better your client comes out of discovery, the better armed you will be for settlement.  What can you do to emerge with the upper hand during the trial preparation phase?

    1. Spend more time preparing and more time practicing with the witnesses who will be deposed. Instead of spending just the few days prior, reviewing stacks of documents and cramming for the “test,” consider earlier preparation to address the witness’ concerns, addressing their bad habits and anxiety so that the final preparation is more successful.
       
    2. Videotape practice sessions and have someone unfamiliar to the witness, but familiar with the opponent’s case, handle the mock deposition questioning so that you can see the witness’ reactions under fire and preserve your relationship with the witness.

      storytelling for judge jury courtroom best method for trial persuasion and emotion

       
    3. Consider early mock-jury testing of the case in a de minimis fashion, at least, in order to test the issues that would matter if it got to trial so you can approach discovery more strategically.  In addition, if your client over-estimates the power of their case, a mock exercise can be a powerful reality check that helps you to manage them and their expectations.
       
    4. Early research can also arm counsel, while there’s still time, to identify the types of experts that would be sought by jurors, the testimony that would matter, and vice versa. Sometimes, an area of expert testimony that can fill a gaping hole isn’t identified until it is too late to add to the line-up of witnesses.
       
    5. Consider testing how mock jurors react to key witnesses and their expected testimony to learn where they fall short, opportunities to exploit opposing witnesses’ weaknesses and to shore up those in your witnesses.
       
    6. Instead of having a paralegal or associate who isn’t trained in graphics prepare what you submit to the court for key hearings or settlement, hire a litigation graphics professional to put your best foot forward to gain an early advantage by making your positions clear and more compelling.

    In hindsight, the cost of these options pales in contrast to the cost of trial. In addition, if you do conduct proper pretrial mock-jury research and the results are favorable, you can select the helpful data to share with a mediator to support your position with objective information rather than just optimism, opinion or paid advocacy. A common challenge from your opponent may be that you underrepresented their position at the research, so it would be wise to make sure to do a robust presentation for them, record it, and consider providing a copy of the presentation to the mediator so you can back up the fact that you did a solid test. It will also send your opponent the message that you are and plan to be very prepared for trial and will be strategically armed to the gills if it gets there. The jury consultant can, if you wish, also provide a signed affidavit with the information gleaned from research with the appropriate information (without disclosing information you wish to keep private and confidential). 

    Check the rules that govern the discoverability of information from mock-jury research and witness preparation from an outside trial consultant regarding attorney work product and attorney-client privilege to guide your decisions, and to be clear to the trial consultant what the appropriate procedures must be in order to protect the confidentiality of their work for you. It is typically considered core work product if handled properly. See the decision of the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals which ruled that the attorney work product privilege protects trial consultants’ work from discovery based on In re Cendant Corp. Securities Litigation, No. 02-4386 http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-3rd-circuit/1330648.html.

    After trial, the party that lost would likely have a different opinion about settling and avoiding being in the 2% that went to trial, … but lost.

    Other articles related to settlement, jury consulting, mock exercises and trial preparation from A2L Consulting:

    complex civil litigation ebook free

    About A2L Consulting

    •  Leading national litigation consulting firm since 1995

    •  Personnel nationwide

    •  Routinely voted #1 for demonstrative evidence consulting, jury consulting or intellectual property litigation consulting nationally

    •  Consulted for all major law firms on 10,000+ cases with trillions of dollars cumulatively at stake offering:

    Trial Consulting: mock trials, Micro-Mock™, mock Markman hearings, jury consulting, shadow juries, jury selection and more; 

    Trial Graphics: legal graphics and litigation graphics, courtroom animation, video, printed foam core trial exhibits, PowerPoint presentation consulting, simplifying the case story and more; 

    Trial Technology & Onsite Personnel: ebriefs (electronic briefs), hot seat operators, trial technicians, courtroom presentations and more; 

    Look for A2L trial consultants, graphics consultants and jury consultants in Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD, New York, NY, Boston, MA, Alexandria, VA, Atlanta, GA, Miami, FL, Chicago, IL, Houston, Texas, Los Angeles, CA, and San Francisco, California, Wilmington, Delaware, Philadelphia, PA, Phoenix, AZ, San Antonio, Palo Alto, Dallas, Detroit, Baltimore, Cleveland, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, Richmond, VA, Salt Lake City, Denver, London, Dublin, Johannesburg, Brussels and many other cities and countries around the world. A2L Contact Information


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    Free E-Book Download: Antitrust Litigation Trial Prep Guidebook - 2nd Edition

     

     

    describe the imageby Ken Lopez
    Founder/CEO
    A2L Consulting

    Antitrust trials are second in frequency only to patent trials for the types of cases A2L Consulting is engaged to support. Indeed, in the past year, we have worked with several Fortune 50 firms in their battles against the recently invigorated U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division.

    Interestingly, we're not always on the defense in antitrust cases. Sometimes we work in support of private plaintiffs and sometimes we work for the U.S. Department of Justice's Antitrust Division. As a result, we have an excellent perspective on what it takes to be successful leading up to and during an antitrust trial.

    The issues in any of the cases we work on usually relate to market power, price fixing or involve Hatch-Waxman ANDA claims. In any of these cases, the evidence most often involves a lot of charts and math that could only appeal to people with a degree in economics (I happen to be one). As a result, like a patent case or like a case involving scientific evidence, an antitrust case requires a lot more trial prep than most cases.

    Good trial prep in an antitrust case includes building a meaningful and compelling story, working with the experts to make their complex testimony understandable, and developing demonstrative evidence that is clear and persuasive. None of this is easy, and in my experience some of the best trial lawyers in America struggle with the presentation of antitrust matters at trial.

    So, it is in the spirit of sharing what we have learned in nearly 19 years of supporting antitrust cases at A2L that we release, The Antitrust Litigation Guide to Trial Prep and Trial Presentation (2nd Ed.).

    This free 141-page book will be useful to new and veteran antitrust litigators alike. Even expert witnesses or those in litigation support will find useful lessons among the 40+ articles compiled in this fine work. We cover topics like:

    • Antitrust, Pharama & Hatach-Waxman Litigation
    • Monopoly Power & Price Fixing
    • 12 Alternative Fee Arrangements We Use and You Could Too
    • 21 Ingenious Ways to Research Your Judge
    • The Top 14 Testimony Tips for Litigators and Expert Witnesses
    • and much more.

    I hope you enjoy this book. We really work hard to be thought leaders in our unique area of litigation support that includes litigation graphics, jury consulting, trial technology and visual persuasion services.

    This book is completely complimentary with no strings attached. You may download it by clicking here or on the image below.

     

    A2L Antitrust Litigation Guide Ebook 2nd Edition

    About A2L Consulting

    •  Leading national litigation consulting firm since 1995

    •  Personnel nationwide

    •  Routinely voted #1 for demonstrative evidence consulting, jury consulting or intellectual property litigation consulting nationally

    •  Consulted for all major law firms on 10,000+ cases with trillions of dollars cumulatively at stake offering:

    Trial Consulting: mock trials, Micro-Mock™, mock Markman hearings, jury consulting, shadow juries, jury selection and more; 

    Trial Graphics: legal graphics and litigation graphics, courtroom animation, video, printed foam core trial exhibits, PowerPoint presentation consulting, simplifying the case story and more; 

    Trial Technology & Onsite Personnel: ebriefs (electronic briefs), hot seat operators, trial technicians, courtroom presentations and more; 

    Look for A2L trial consultants, graphics consultants and jury consultants in Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD, New York, NY, Boston, MA, Alexandria, VA, Atlanta, GA, Miami, FL, Chicago, IL, Houston, Texas, Los Angeles, CA, and San Francisco, California, Wilmington, Delaware, Philadelphia, PA, Phoenix, AZ, San Antonio, Palo Alto, Dallas, Detroit, Baltimore, Cleveland, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, Richmond, VA, Salt Lake City, Denver, London, Dublin, Johannesburg, Brussels and many other cities and countries around the world. A2L Contact Information


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    Why Do I Need A Mock Trial If There Is No Real Voir Dire?

     

     

    mock trial provides vision jurors no voir direby Laurie R. Kuslansky, Ph.D.
    Managing Director, Jury & Trial Consulting
    A2L Consulting

    Answer: So you can learn the best story for the worst jury.

    Have you ever gotten to your seat on an airplane and, without speaking to anyone, seen who was next to you and thought, “This is gonna be trouble!”? Or boarded a train and decided to keep walking before choosing your seat? Of course you have. And that’s because there is a wealth of information that we, as humans, gather instinctively and automatically all the time. 

    We observe a myriad of valuable information before any questions are asked out loud, such as:

    • How does someone look?
    • Are they attractive?
    • Are they neat or sloppy?
    • Do they appear dressed appropriately for court?
    • Are they flamboyant or conservative?
    • Did they show up on time?
    • Are they chatting with neighbors or reading a book?
    • Are they using Kindle or reading People magazine?
    • Are they fidgeting?
    • Are they asking someone questions?
    • Did they drop everything on the floor?
    • Are they limping on the way to their seat?
    • Are they having problems seeing or hearing?
    • Did they complete the jury summons form correctly?
    • According to the form, where do they live and work? Do they have children and where do they work? How’s their spelling and punctuation on the form?
    • Are they speaking too loudly?
    • Are they laughing and acting like they’re on stage?
    • Do they have photos on their Facebook profile for the entire world to see?
    • Are they on LinkedIn or on Plenty of Fish?
    storytelling persuasion courtroom litigation webinar

    If you can answer these questions, you know most of what you need to know to make important jury-selection choices – but only if you know how best to use this information, i.e., what are the personality traits that may indicate adverse jurors, who are unlikely to favor your client and your view of damages. So, the real issue isn’t whether you can control voir dire, but what to do with the information that you can glean with your ears and eyes (and maybe a few keystrokes on a laptop).

    For an amusing read on what merely seeing how someone dresses can tell you, for example, see http://lamasatonline.net/en/psychology-of-clothing

    What does “no real voir dire” mean?

    There are several typical scenarios for voir dire:

    1)    Counsel has almost unlimited ability to directly ask prospective jurors questions

    2)    Counsel can use an extensive written jury questionnaire

    3)    Counsel can ask a few questions directly

    4)    Counsel can only ask a few follow-up questions

    5)    The judge or clerk conducts an extensive or abbreviated voir dire and accept a few proposed questions from counsel or not

    6)    There is a liberal or draconian policy about letting people off for claimed hardships.

    7)    Cause is construed very narrowly or broadly by the Court.

    8)    The judge or clerk conducts voir dire just looking for a pulse and accept everyone who does.

    In each of these scenarios, you will be permitted unlimited strikes for cause that the judge accepts and limited (usually 3 per side) peremptory strikes. The key is to fight to use cause strikes against harmful biases and exercise your peremptory strikes against true enemies and not inadvertently strike potentially good jurors or mildly bad ones in favor of worse ones. The question is: how do you know which ones they are?  It isn’t because you can’t get relevant information about them because you didn’t get to ask, but because you need a reliable blueprint for what makes a potentially bad juror for your case, or you risk striking blindly.

    The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision." (Helen Keller)

    Jury research is one of the only ways to avoid that by informing your vision. In particular, several critical outcomes emerge from properly conducted jury research which can provide counsel with night vision goggles, so that even if you operate largely in the dark at voir dire, you are armed with:

    1)    A thematic story of your case that works best for most jurors – good and bad alike;

    2)    A list of statistically significant traits, attitudes and experiences that jurors most adverse to your case seem to share.

    3)    A clear sense of the issues, facts, evidence and arguments that detractors reject in your case and why, as well as how to overcome them (e.g., What they’d need to hear or see to accept your position, which reasoning or argument turned them off and how you can modify it, and the like).

    4)    Knowledge about what was misunderstood, distorted or unclear, and what you need to do about educating before you advocate.

    “No voir dire” is a myth. It’s that simple. It is only a short-sighted, narrow view of voir dire that permits the belief that, just because counsel doesn’t ask the questions or there isn’t an extensive opportunity to make inquiry of prospective jurors, that it is an all-or-nothing proposition when it is not.

    storytelling for judge jury courtroom best method for trial persuasion and emotion

    In our daily lives, without interrogating strangers, we make judgment calls all the time about who seems dangerous, who seems friendly, and many other “attributions.” That is, we can draw inferences about other people without asking them a single question. It is ingrained and a matter of survival. The key to doing so effectively in court is to be a skilled observer, knowing what you are looking for and looking out for, and avoiding what is called the “fundamental attribution error” (Lee D. Ross), which is attributing causes for observed traits to internal factors (such as personality characteristics) rather than to external, situational variables (such as how the setting may alter a person’s behavior, dress and mannerisms). Consider how the setting may itself be altering prospective jurors’ natural tendencies, if at all.

    What is interesting and useful in the courtroom setting is that the situational variables (an unusually authoritarian, formal setting to most prospective jurors) and how people react to it is, in and of itself, critical information to consider in limited voir dire situations insofar as one can see, for example, how people dress for court. If they are wearing a running suit or a business suit speaks volumes, and if they are doing so because they hope to get out of being picked and going straight to work – whether as a gym instructor or financial analyst – you are likely to know and draw the proper inferences about them.  If someone is tardy or punctual is itself a marker of behavior that people draw inferences about everywhere else in life, so why not in the courtroom?

    In brief, jury research is more important than ever when you will be making important decisions based on limited information and the information you get matters, but only reliable data can tell you how.

    Other articles related to mock trials, mock juries, jury consultants, voir dire and jury selection on A2L Consulting's site:

    jury consulting trial consulting jury research

     

     

    About A2L Consulting

    •  Leading national litigation consulting firm since 1995

    •  Personnel nationwide

    •  Routinely voted #1 for demonstrative evidence consulting, jury consulting or intellectual property litigation consulting nationally

    •  Consulted for all major law firms on 10,000+ cases with trillions of dollars cumulatively at stake offering:

    Trial Consulting: mock trials, Micro-Mock™, mock Markman hearings, jury consulting, shadow juries, jury selection and more; 

    Trial Graphics: legal graphics and litigation graphics, courtroom animation, video, printed foam core trial exhibits, PowerPoint presentation consulting, simplifying the case story and more; 

    Trial Technology & Onsite Personnel: ebriefs (electronic briefs), hot seat operators, trial technicians, courtroom presentations and more; 

    Look for A2L trial consultants, graphics consultants and jury consultants in Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD, New York, NY, Boston, MA, Alexandria, VA, Atlanta, GA, Miami, FL, Chicago, IL, Houston, Texas, Los Angeles, CA, and San Francisco, California, Wilmington, Delaware, Philadelphia, PA, Phoenix, AZ, San Antonio, Palo Alto, Dallas, Detroit, Baltimore, Cleveland, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, Richmond, VA, Salt Lake City, Denver, London, Dublin, Johannesburg, Brussels and many other cities and countries around the world. A2L Contact Information


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    Powerful Preconceptions and Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 TV Coverage

     

     

    malaysian airlines flight 370 photo of planeby Laurie R. Kuslansky, Ph.D.
    Managing Director, Jury Consulting
    A2L Consulting

    The year is 2014. We can land on Mars, predict earthquakes, and, with GPS, find a lost dog, a misplaced cell phone, or just about anything else. When you get an X-Ray, “x” marks the spot of what’s there, whether a fracture or something else. The general public, which largely thinks of satellites as a combination of science and magic, cannot comprehend why, then, if the satellites of several nations have spotted an apparent debris field in the same “spot” in the Indian Ocean, someone can’t just zip over to that “spot” and Bingo!, find the possible remains of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. 

    News networks have interviewed endless “experts” to try and explain why “it isn’t so easy.” But so far, it doesn’t seem that they’ve succeeded in making the answer comprehensible.

    As anyone skilled in presentation, they’ve attempted to do so using various visual aids. There, too, it hasn’t helped much either, because to understand their explanations, you have to already understand what they’re saying. Most allude to how large “the spot” is and the passage of time between receiving the image and being able to get “there.” Again, the public wonders, why does it take so long, when time is of the essence?  It doesn’t make sense. You get an X-Ray and in moments, have your answer, so why does it take days in this case?

    They’ve used metaphors, the most popular being that it is like looking for a needle in a haystack, but haven’t yet found the farm, let alone the haystack. 

    malaysian airlines flight 370 sattelite imageWe’ve been told how hostile the southern ocean is. Check. We’ve been told how far the search area is from Perth, Australia – like flying from D.C. to Denver. Check. We’ve been told that planes have limited fuel time to spend searching once there. Roger that. But we haven’t been taught the key points – not about what caused MH370 to disappear, but why we can’t find it when the satellites have.

    Despite so much media coverage, the preconception persists, fueling distrust and frustration. Why?

    Understanding in this type of scenario requires getting over multiple hurdles first:

    • People are impatient and eager to learn the information;
    • People are anxious about the dangers of flying;
    • A major airplane disaster is many people’s worst fear;
    • If knowledge is power, not knowing makes one feel powerless;
    • No information is better than inconsistent, vague and unreliable information;
    • The information provided is shrouded in secrecy and what is disclosed does not relate to common knowledge;

    And on and on . . .

    Complex information in troubling circumstances often breeds distrust from the get-go. It is no different in litigation involving unfamiliar information – whether in the field of technology, science, finance or others that the typical jury doesn’t know or understand.    

    With this backdrop, persuasion requires a lot of education to an audience that is seeking quick, clear answers where none exists. How can the points be made better?

    For starters, it would help if the “experts” actually answered people’s questions: Why is it so hard when it seems so easy? How is it possible, with all the technology we now have available to us, not to be able to do better?

    Educating and advocating are also not as easy as they may seem.  This disaster should serve to provide many important lessons, including understanding the fact that being an expert hardly matters if you don’t get your message across to your audience.

    Other A2L Consulting resources related to aviation/airline litigation, teaching science, courtroom persuasion and expert testimony:

      complex civil litigation ebook free

    About A2L Consulting

    •  Leading national litigation consulting firm since 1995

    •  Personnel nationwide

    •  Routinely voted #1 for demonstrative evidence consulting, jury consulting or intellectual property litigation consulting nationally

    •  Consulted for all major law firms on 10,000+ cases with trillions of dollars cumulatively at stake offering:

    Trial Consulting: mock trials, Micro-Mock™, mock Markman hearings, jury consulting, shadow juries, jury selection and more; 

    Trial Graphics: legal graphics and litigation graphics, courtroom animation, video, printed foam core trial exhibits, PowerPoint presentation consulting, simplifying the case story and more; 

    Trial Technology & Onsite Personnel: ebriefs (electronic briefs), hot seat operators, trial technicians, courtroom presentations and more; 

    Look for A2L trial consultants, graphics consultants and jury consultants in Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD, New York, NY, Boston, MA, Alexandria, VA, Atlanta, GA, Miami, FL, Chicago, IL, Houston, Texas, Los Angeles, CA, and San Francisco, California, Wilmington, Delaware, Philadelphia, PA, Phoenix, AZ, San Antonio, Palo Alto, Dallas, Detroit, Baltimore, Cleveland, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, Richmond, VA, Salt Lake City, Denver, London, Dublin, Johannesburg, Brussels and many other cities and countries around the world. A2L Contact Information


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