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The Litigation Consulting Report

Using Visual Persuasion to Emotionally Move Your Audience

Posted by Ken Lopez on Wed, Mar 16, 2016 @ 09:51 AM

visual persuasion flight safetyby Ken Lopez
A2L Consulting

The importance of developing a strong narrative in your case is well-established by science and by what we have all observed in the actions of jurors in real cases. In spite of the law that may be against you, in spite of the facts that may be against you, a high-quality narrative can win a case.

We've written about this extensively and articles like Storytelling Proven to be Scientifically More Persuasive, 5 Essential Elements of Storytelling and Persuasion, and $300 Million of Litigation Consulting and Storytelling Validation provide a good background on the power of story, whether in a case tried to a jury or to a judge.

Great litigators don't push back on the need for story anymore. Indeed, they arrive at our doors in quest of ways to fine-tune their narrative and make it more convincing. We help them by testing any number of possible approaches, by conducting practice opening statements, and by developing a persuasive visual presentation for the litigators.

One bit of pushback that we do continue to hear is about injecting emotion into a case. Particularly from defense-side clients, we hear that all that’s needed and appropriate is a narrative – but that in this particular case, the narrative need not be compelling and emotional.

The dispute is not over whether emotional appeals are helpful in general; most litigators agree with us that they are. The dispute relates to the question of whether there is any plausible emotion to squeeze out of a particular case. After all, many of our cases are seemingly dry patent cases, contract cases, or product liability cases. Just explaining the issues in a nontechnical way is time-consuming and difficult. How would one go about adding emotion?

Well, it’s not as difficult as you may think. I saw this video recently that can indisputably show litigators that even the driest material can have an emotional story attached to it.

Of all things, it is an air safety video, the type you’ve seen dozens of times on plane flights, and ignored dozens of times. It is the safety video you now see when you prepare for takeoff on Qantas Airlines. Even though I'm in the emotion-driven litigation consulting business and I am accustomed to finding emotional levers where others might not, I still think this simple video is a wonderful achievement. Take a look.

We're all familiar with the messages in this video and we've even probably seen other videos like it. And that's the point. Notice how this one makes you feel. It makes you pay attention and stay engaged.

If emotion can be used, appropriately, to remind you to fasten your seatbelt, it can also be used to convey strong feelings about a courtroom presentation. I invite you to ask us how we might do that for your trial team.

Other articles and resources related to litigation consulting and storytelling on A2L Consulting's site:

Tags: Litigation Consulting, Psychology, Storytelling, Persuasive Graphics, Visual Persuasion, Emotions, Persuasion

How to Apply Cialdini's 6 Principles of Persuasion in the Courtroom (Part 2)

Posted by Alex Brown on Mon, May 4, 2015 @ 04:44 PM


commitment-persuasion-influence-cialdiniby Alex Brown
Director of Operations
A2L Consulting

Commitment (and Consistency) (see Part 1 about reciprocity here)

In 1971, Charles Kiesler wrote a book called The Psychology of Commitment. In it he describes various experiments designed to understand human motivations. Kiesler referred to one of his experimental results as “the boomerang effect.”  The idea is that if a person has committed to something and is then attacked for his position, he or she is likely to increase his or her commitment, even if the commitment was not at all strong in the first place.

This brings up related questions of how and why people become more extreme in their attitudes.  Is it simply to justify their past behavior, or is it because people really want to be right? In many circumstances, a person might seek out others as social support or find outward behaviors that justify his or her position.  Basically, if you get someone to commit to something, they will usually stick to that commitment while under attack and will look for allies to their cause or position. As Cialdini notes, when a commitment is made public, one is likely to stick to it.

In view of this, it should be obvious why this finding can make an important persuasion tool for litigators. We strongly believe that you can win or lose a case in opening statements. In an opening statement, it is your responsibility to:

  1. Show them the path: As a litigator, you are always playing the odds.  The majority of people prefer to have a framework or a path that they can follow. This allows them to be comfortable, and this is what you want. No one fully opens up unless he or she is comfortable. Your goal in opening is to show them the path – and that far from being scary, it is the most reasonable way to go, in fact, it is the only way to go.

  2. Plant the seed: Every juror, if forced to honestly answer, will tell you that even before anyone spoke at the trial, they were leaning toward a judgment. Most believe that if two people stand up, one will lie and the other will tell the truth. During the opening, you have the opportunity to occupy the high ground and lay the groundwork for the jurors to believe your opponent is lying.

  3. Quick judgment:  Research shows that as many as 80 percent of jurors make up their minds immediately after hearing the opening statement. We have shown that if you are in the 20 percent minority, you have set yourself a huge mountain to climb.

  4. Pique interest: A court case is not a TV show or movie. You will not be able to keep the jury’s undivided attention, and the jury’s mind will never be as open as it is during opening statements. Everyone loses interest. After all, these are people with lives, worries, and plans that are being disrupted. If you cannot set their interest right away, you are losing from the start.

  5. Allow empathy: Everyone wants to believe in something. Opening statements are when you can give a juror the opportunity to pick a side and the ability to fight for you when the time comes. The only time a jury does not stand up for their pick is when they have not been given a reason to make a choice.

  6. Walk the path: We have often said that people buy on emotion and justify on facts. These first five points are based on getting the jury emotionally connected to your side. This last point is the fact part. Once you get them thinking of your client as being right, it is your job to show them all the facts they need to stick with this position. Imagine having an advocate for you during deliberation.  If the opening is done correctly, you will have at least one champion in that room, with the commitment to follow through.

Other articles and resources from A2L Consulting related to opening statements and persuasion:

opening statements toolkit ebook download a2l


Tags: Psychology, Opening, Emotions, Persuasion

5 Ways to Maximize Persuasion During Opening Statements - Part 1

Posted by Ryan Flax on Mon, Apr 13, 2015 @ 11:08 AM


courtroom-demeanor-opening-statements-likableby Ryan H. Flax, Esq.
(Former) Managing Director, Litigation Consulting
A2L Consulting

It has been widely reported that more than 80 percent of jurors make up their minds about your case during opening statements.1 There is actually no quantitative study confirming this, but the best lawyers and the top litigation and jury consultants agree that a winning opening statement is critical.

Probably the most important reason that an opening statement is critical is that it establishes the lens through which your jurors will view the trial.2 If that lens is clear and focused on the issues and the evidence that you know are keys to victory, great. If the lens is cracked, foggy, or unfocused, you’ve got problems.

The concept of primacy effect is another reason that opening statements are critically important. Primacy means that information provided to an audience first is the most valuable and meaningful.3 Jurors are encoded with the first information they receive from you. If you give your jurors the first information that they receive, you’re creating the right lens for your case.

An example of the primacy effect can be seen in these sentences describing “Steve.”

Steve is smart, diligent, critical, impulsive, and jealous.

Steve is jealous, impulsive, critical, diligent, and smart.

Those exposed to the first sentence view Steve positively. Those exposed to the second view Steve negatively. But they, of course, contain exactly the same information in different order.

This is how the primacy effect works -- and the same thing happens to your case in opening statements. At the very beginning of opening statements, jurors form their working hypothesis for the case, and this hypothesis affects their interpretation of the rest of the information presented at trial. So the information at the beginning of an opening statement matters a lot. Primacy means that if you’re plaintiff’s counsel, you need to set a strong theme for your case and immediately tell the brief story of the wrong that got you to court. If you’re defense counsel, introduce the “dagger” that kills the plaintiff’s case immediately. Jurors only care about assigning blame, so make it easy for them.

Finally, confirmation bias plays a critical role because jurors will decide your case based on their views, not your evidence (for the most part). As a general rule, decision makers lack objectivity, and people tend to favor one choice over another and subsequently evaluate information to confirm that leaning.4 Your jurors will believe what they already believe and will remember evidence and arguments that supports those beliefs while ignoring evidence to the contrary. Tune your opening statement with this in mind. 

1. Give Your Jurors a Reason to Like You

In opening statements, we want to get the jurors’ attention and make them care about the case and the client. This requires that they like you and appreciate what you’re doing.

It is natural for everyone to take sides to have someone to root for. Have you ever watched a sporting event in a totally neutral way? Probably not. The same goes for jurors in the courtroom.

Remember the “90 Second Rule.” Within 90 seconds of meeting someone new, people decide whether they like the person or not, if they feel comfortable around them, if they trust them. This goes for jurors and you in the courtroom.

To make jurors like you, help them do their job. Make it easier for them. You’ll want the case and evidence to take center stage, but you need to make it interesting and easier to understand for jurors who are all new to the case, new to being jurors, new to you, and new to each other.

Litigation is confusing; make things simple. Do you remember your first day of law school? Did you feel confident that you understood what your professors were talking about? Probably not.

The trial is probably the most confusing and complicated thing your jurors will ever be put through in their lives. They’ll be asked to digest a bit of law it likely took you an entire semester of law school to understand. They’ll be asked to digest a ton of facts that you think are important and then to apply the law to those facts. Then they’ll be asked to decide which party should either get or not get a lot of money or lose their freedom. This is a confusing process, so if you can help make this job easier by distilling facts, simplifying the application of the law, and making the case easier to understand, jurors will appreciate it. In one study, jurors indicated that the prime value they saw in opening statements (and closing arguments) was that they provided a framework for the jurors to evaluate the case.5 This is perhaps the most effective way to influence juror decision making.

Litigation is boring, so make your presentation and case interesting. The Apple v. Samsung or Marvin Gaye Estate v. Pharrell Williams cases are few and far between, so your case is probably not inherently interesting. Make it so. There is conflict. There is betrayal. There is stealing and lying and deception and scheming. There is also honor and valor and compassion. Use these as tools to develop an interesting take on your case. Moreover, make the case visually interesting by using litigation graphics to help you make your points.

Litigation may be critical to you and your client. But to many jurors, it is an unwelcome interruption of their lives. In the opening statement, try to establish that you’ll get the jurors back to their lives quickly. Almost no juror wants to be in the jury box. They’ve probably each considered what they might say during voir dire to escape and failed. Assure them that your case is simple and that you’ll put it on in an efficient way so as not to waste their time.

Take the case seriously, but don’t forget to smile at the jury. It will make your appear more likable, more credible, more intelligent, and more trustworthy.6

Make the jurors feel good about you and your case. Make them happy to see you stand up when it’s your turn to talk. Do what the best teacher you ever had did – compare the old and new, the known and unknown, make learning simple, use analogies and metaphors, be tour guides, not lecturers, remove obstacles in the path to learning.

*** Watch for 4 more tips about opening statements soon - get notified of publication by clicking here ***

Other A2L Consulting articles and resources related to opening statements, being likable in the courtroom and litigator-juror communications:

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[1] The most popular publication to cite is Dale W. Broeder, The University of Chicago Jury Project, 38 Neb. L. Rev. 744 (1959);  however, nowhere in this article does the author conclude that 80 percent of trials are actually decided in opening statements. It does indicate that trials are likely decided before deliberations most of the time.

[2] See, e.g., Bill Kanasky, Jr., The Primacy and Recency Effects: The Secret Weapons of Opening Statements, 3 No. 3 Trial Advoc. Q. 26 (2014).

[3] Ibid.

[4] Jonathan M. Lytle, The Domino Effect of Juror Decision-Making, 53 Orange Co. Law. 28 (2011).

[5] Valerie P. Hans and Krista Swigart, Jurors’ Views of Civil Lawyers: Implications for Courtroom Communication, 68 IND. L.J. 1297, 1329 (1993)

[6] Ken Broda-Bham, Ph.D., Smile (For Credibility and Affect), http://www.persuasivelitigator.com/2014/04/smile-for-credibility-and-affect.html ( Apr 24, 2014)(citing Brodsky et al., The Witness Credibility Scale: an outcome measure for expert witness research, Behav Sci Law, 2010 Nov-Dec;28(6):892-907; Nagle et al., Gender, smiling, and witness credibility in actual trials, Behav Sci Law, 2014 Mar-Apr;32(2):195-206; and Kleisner et al., Perceived Intelligence Is Associated with Measured Intelligence in Men but Not Women, Plos One (Mar 20, 2014)).

Tags: Litigation Consulting, Juries, Jury Consultants, Opening, Body Language, Emotions, Persuasion

4 Tips for Stealing Thunder in the Courtroom

Posted by Laurie Kuslansky on Mon, Apr 28, 2014 @ 04:45 PM


stealing courtroom thunder motion in limineby Laurie R. Kuslansky, Ph.D.
Managing Director, Jury & Trial Consulting
A2L Consulting

In Limine” in Latin means “at the threshold” and some judges wait for the threshold of trial to rule on motions in limine. Using this motion, litigants may attempt to preclude arguments and/or evidence that one side believes is a “side show” by the other side, but may not find out until trial begins if it will be in or out of the case. Lenient judges may let in such information, despite cogent protests against it. When that happens, how do you deal with it?

The Problem

In many venues, and for many jurors, the side show is more interesting, understandable and dramatic than the drier facts of the case.  For example, wording of a contract pales in comparison to illicit acts alleged against some of the key actors. Nasty remarks ring louder than appropriate conduct. A spotty personal history is a bigger attention-getter than that person’s work history. An affair outside the workplace is juicier than business as usual.


When to deal with the side show?

Answer:  As soon as possible.

We understand the reluctance of counsel to appear defensive and side-tracked by overly-attending to the opposing side’s case. However, not doing so leaves too much room for the opponent to enjoy an unwanted advantage. If the jury gets the wrong impression from your adversary, it is difficult to reverse it by waiting too long or worse, leaving it to jurors to figure out themselves. Leave nothing to chance. In order to downplay the relevance or importance of distracting, negative information, address it head on and early. Some refer to the potential techniques as “stealing thunder” or “raining on their parade.” 


What is thunder?

“Thunder” in litigation is potentially powerful, negative information asserted by an adversary. It may be front-and-center information that is harmful, a weakness in your case presented by your opponent, or the stuff of a side show that is not immediately relevant, not really probative, but presented for that very reason – to be loud and problematic in order to leave a lasting impression.

Where does “thunder” come from for jurors?


There are numerous real-life anti-heroes in the news who can easily roll off the tongues of potential jurors (e.g., Bernie Madoff, Toronto mayor Robert Ford, Olympian-turned-murder defendant, Oscar Pistorious, George Zimmerman, or good-turned-bad teen idols, such as Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Bynes and Chris Brown). 

Antiheroes became all the rage in TV and movies of late. Popular culture and its vivid images are easy points of reference for many jurors.  For example, 10.3 million viewers watched the final episode of Breaking Bad.  Such figures lend credence and impact for negative impressions. 

If jurors have seen movies such as “Wolf of Wall Street” or characters on TV shows such as Tony on The Sopranos, Walter White, the meth-making chemistry teacher on Breaking Bad, Patty Hewes, the super-lawyer representing amoral corporations on “Damages” and others – they have immediate access to highly negative images of anti-heroic characters in fiction that are summoned when evaluating key figures in a lawsuit who may share negative traits with them. Or, at least, that is the hope of a trial lawyer trying to use negative information as thunder. Here is a list of TV’s top 17 anti-heroes of 2013. After all, jurors may have seen them, so you should know what you may be up against if they have.


“Stealing Thunder”

If you are certain your opponent will raise potentially negative information that can highlight weakness to your case, thereby creating thunder, it is foolhardy to let it echo unaddressed.  If such weaknesses will not be raised by your opponent, of course there is no reason for you to do so. 

One way to do counter damaging negative information is by stealing its thunder, i.e., “a dissuasion tactic in which an individual reveals potentially incriminating evidence first, for the purpose of reducing its negative impact on an evaluative audience.“ [1]


How to Steal Thunder?

It isn’t enough to tell people not to think about the pink elephant in the room, or at trial, to simply “tell” jurors what doesn’t matter. You have to go the extra step of explaining how and why it doesn’t matter. Taking the bull by the horns requires showing that the side show doesn’t pass muster in specific ways:

1)    Do it first.  If you are the Plaintiff, anticipate the defense presenting a side show, and steal their thunder by addressing the negative information in your opening – before the defense does so in its opening statement.

2)    Actions speak louder than words.   For example, were there any actual actions taken at the time to show that the complaints had merit? Did anyone lodge a formal complaint at the time? Did anyone go to HR? Did anyone file a lawsuit? If not, then those are issues that were not issues at the relevant time, but only ones magnified after the lawsuit. 

3)    Now vs. Then.  If possible, show that those allegedly disgruntled about such conduct now did not take action at the time. Contrast the two time frames to show a lack of support for the allegations at the time and that they only became alleged issues after the fact.

4)    Options and control: Key in succeeding to defeat such issues is showing that, at the time they allegedly mattered, the aggrieved had the wherewithal to make choices and take actions, but did not – not because they couldn’t, but because they didn’t have reason to do so.  Otherwise, dismantling their complaints is anemic.


Does it work?

Yes. Stealing thunder significantly reduces the impact of negative information. [2]  It minimizes the importance and reduces the potential damage of negative information. However, this tactic is “no longer effective when opposing counsel revealed that the stealing thunder tactic had been used on them.”[3]


Sorry, but I have to steal your thunder, too.

You may be countering the advice provided here with the thought that you don’t want to draw attention to the opposing side’s side show by talking about it directly in your case.  While that is understandable, it is ill advised. Even if you don’t talk about it, and your opponent does, the jury will, too, and decades of real-life jury interviews have shown that when jurors talk about your client, you do worse, and vice versa. Litigation is just the opposite of what Oscar Wilde once said, i.e., There is only one thing in litigation worse than not being talked about, and that is being talked about -- so take heed to direct the talking.


Other articles related to courtroom communications, trial prep tactics and staying one step ahead of your opponent.

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[1]  Dolnik, L., Case, T. I., & Williams, K. D. (2003). Stealing thunder as a courtroom tactic revisited: Processes and boundaries. Law and Human Behavior, 27, pp. 267-287 at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12794964

[2] Williams, Kipling D., Bourgeois, Martin J. and Croyle, Robert T. The Effects of Stealing Thunder in Criminal and Civil Trials. Law & Human Behavior (Springer Science & Business Media B.V.);Dec1993, Vol. 17 Issue 6, p.597

[3] Op Cit. Dolnik, et al.


Tags: Jury Consulting, Litigation Consulting, Juries, Jury Consultants, Trial Preparation, Labor and Employment, Emotions

How To Emotionally Move Your Audience

Posted by Laurie Kuslansky on Tue, Mar 25, 2014 @ 10:31 AM


emotions courtroom sympathy trial anger juryby Laurie R. Kuslansky, Ph.D.
Managing Director, Jury Consulting
A2L Consulting

“One ought to hold on to one's heart; for if one lets it go, one soon loses control of the head too.” 

Friedrich Nietzsche

In other words, once emotion comes into play, fact and reason go out the door. For at least one side of the courtroom, that is the precise goal. For the other, the goal is to combat it, but if you cannot beat them, then you must learn how to join them. What does that mean?

There are several emotions that can often play a role in jury trials: anger and sympathy being chief among them.


Can I see another's woe, and not be in sorrow too? Can I see another's grief, and not seek for kind relief?”

— William Blake

Many attorneys are concerned about the role of sympathy in jury trials for fear that it will dictate how the jury rules. This is a well-placed concern in cases involving a truly helpless victim (such as a newborn in a “bad baby case”). 

However, decades of jury research through mock trials and post-trial interviews of actual juries show something different in many other instances: that jurors measure a party’s actions by what they knew or should have known and what they did or failed to do about it based on what they knew (i.e., knowledge and control). If the party knew too much (or should have known) and did too little, for example, it trumps sympathy. 

For example, a journeyman electrician and popular, well-liked football star, was engaged to his high-school sweetheart. He was tasked with cleaning the electrical workings on a ship on a fast turnaround. The floor of the ship had salty sea water. He was to clean high-voltage equipment. He didn’t check if the electricity was on or off (“tagged out”) and did the unthinkable – cleaned the equipment with a metal brush, while standing in salt water. Sadly, the power was not turned off and he was almost killed by the electrical shock that resulted. Miraculously, he survived, but was in very bad shape, and no longer the baby-faced young man, but a disfigured, disabled one. Although he was highly sympathetic, the yardsticks of knowledge and control yielded a failing grade. Any housewife knows not to mix electricity and water, let alone salt water. Anyone knows this from common sense, so while they were greatly sympathetic, jurors faulted him for engaging in such risky behavior. As a result, their damages award was significantly discounted for his contributory negligence. Although they also blamed a failure in supervision, his own actions undermined sympathy for him and the result.

A retired school-bus driver dreamed of driving around the country with his wife in an RV in their golden years. Before departing for such a trip, he realized he needed to change one of the tires. Unlike tires on a typical car, tires on this vehicle clearly required – as would those on a school bus – special procedures to avoid injury, such as placing chains on the tire and other precautions.  Sadly, despite his years of professional experience with a bus that required a similar procedure, he cut corners and simply approached changing the tire as if it was on a VW bug. It exploded and nearly killed him. He was no longer going to tour the country. He could hardly walk and had significant and permanent brain damage. His wife, a nurse, was on permanent duty to care for him. Again, while some felt sympathy, jurors used the yardstick of knowledge and control, concluding he should have known better and exercised more appropriate caution. Goodbye windfall.

So, if you represent the Plaintiff, before you seek sympathy (or damages), first hold a mirror up to the actions of your client to consider what they knew or should have known, and what they did or failed to do. To the extent you can minimize these for your client and increase them for the defense, the better you will do.

Similarly, defendants may be assumed to be more knowledgeable and powerful and to have an obligation to be so, but being able to show a lack of access or ability for control can diminish liability, and in turn, damages. For example, what was the state of the art? What was the basis for your client’s beliefs and actions? Why was that reasonable and keeping with industry standards? What lack of control did your clients have over changes?  Why wasn’t the “ideal” possible”? Often times, jurors will believe that profits motivated defendants’ actions or inactions, putting profits over safety, for example. This in turn often leads to the most powerful emotional driver in litigation: anger.


Anger cannot be dishonest.

— Marcus Aurelius

One of the most potent drivers of jury decisions is anger, whether in deciding liability, awarding compensatory damages, or most relevantly, punitive damages. Even in cases in which punitive damages are not a real option, jurors often express their punitive emotions by awarding higher compensatory damages.  One of the best ways to move a jury is to move them to anger and vice versa.

Angry jurors are more committed to their position, loath to abandon it, and prone to accelerate the amounts to award, thereby raise the ceiling, while less likely to want to listen to reason or facts. While facts, if they do seep in somehow, are a powerful way to combat anger, failing to address the causes of anger is a risky approach.

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

Anger shows you care. One cannot get angry about something one doesn’t care about, so the trick is to discover what matters to the jury. In order to access their anger – or overcome it – you must know the trigger.  What do people care about most? Themselves. They ask, “What if that was me? Or my child?” “Can that happen to me?” “What if they don’t fix that problem?”  Next, people care about greed and unfairness, particularly when those in power take advantage of those who are not. 

For example, a young construction worker working on the roof of a building in which a sky light was under construction did not notice the open hole and fell through, suffering permanent brain injury. Plaintiff’s counsel could display safety rules and OSHA guidelines and the like, as well as medical records, but none of that promised to anger the jury outright. It would only make them think.  The goal was to infuriate the jury. How? By having an expert testify about the proper way to secure the hole – including some plywood and some 2x4s blocking access to it – and then, marching those items into court during summation and showing the Home Depot receipt for about only $80.00. Once angered by the callous cost-cutting of the owner, jurors were angry that it would have taken so little to prevent so much harm, and showed their anger honestly in the currency of jury anger by awarding significant damages.

As a defendant, there are ways in which one can inadvertently anger jurors and thus, move them in the wrong direction.  This often occurs when counsel considers facts without considering the emotions that can naturally attach to them.  While the facts in a vacuum may seem very convincing, they can backfire in the context of jurors’ feelings. For example, while it may be true that an M.I.T. study shows that women make less in the workplace largely due to their own work/life choices, how do real people react to that? By saying that since women are the ones who have babies, employers should make adjustments to level the playing field by taking that into account. Or, say that an industry study shows that most people in an industry do precisely what the defendant did in the case, but jurors find that behavior objectionable. In that case, jurors will use the verdict as a means to correct the industry, starting with your client. In another instance, in order to refute claims of “pain and suffering” of passengers on an ill-fated flight, expert testimony may show, that depressurization in the cabin results in hypoxia, which causes a mild sense of euphoria and feeling “high” before passing out and eventually dying due to lack of oxygen as a way to say that people on a crashing flight didn’t suffer. Try selling a bridge. Even if true, jurors are likely to storm the defense counsel’s table rather than accept this factual position as helpful. Instead, they ended up mocking it and displaced it with their own disaster fantasies of what the last 18 seconds of life was like for the poor people on the doomed flight on their way down. The expert testimony backfired and made them angry. 

Skilled plaintiff attorneys tend to know how to dial up emotions. They know how to include details that bear the ring of truth, words that touch the soul, and images that relate to jurors’ own lives. It is usually the defense that needs greater awareness in this realm. When one considers presenting only the facts, they are giving their opponent a great advantage. Instead, consider also how the facts will play on jurors’ feelings. For the defense to succeed, it must consider how the events impacted everyone involved as well as how the verdict may impact everyone involved, and then, how all of that may impact the jury. It may be tedious, but failing to do so is perilous and failing is not a good feeling.

Other A2L Consulting resources related to jury communications, jury consulting and storytelling:

storytelling for lawyers litigators and litigation support courtroom narrative

Tags: Trial Consultants, Jury Consulting, Litigation Consulting, Trial Consulting, Juries, Jury Consultants, Psychology, Storytelling, Emotions

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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.


Tony Klapper joined A2L Consulting after accumulating 20 years of litigation experience while a partner at both Reed Smith and Kirkland & Ellis. Today, he is the Managing Director of Litigation Consulting and General Counsel for A2L Consulting. Tony has significant litigation experience in products liability, toxic tort, employment, financial services, government contract, insurance, and other commercial disputes.  In those matters, he has almost always been the point person for demonstrative evidence and narrative development on his trial teams. Tony can be reached at klapper@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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