by Ken Lopez
At A2L, we have worked with thousands of clients over the last several decades. When we first started, almost no trial lawyers had experience with litigation consultants. However, as time went on, the majority of the people we work with have used either jury consultants, litigation graphics consultants, or trial technology in-court specialists at some point in their careers.
All these years later, perhaps 20 percent of our clients are first-time litigation consulting users. Not surprisingly, first-time users exhibit many of the same fears that newcomers have shown for decades.
Most of these fears are simply fears of the unknown, not actual problems with using litigation consultants. At the core of these fears is a fear of being out of control. But when is a client ever really out of control? Never. We service providers strive at all times to make our clients happy.
Still, many fears persist about using litigation consultants the first time.
- Fear: Costs will spiral out of control. Reality: In my opinion, some of the firms who have failed in our industry helped create this fear. At our firm, we strive to be completely transparent about costs. To that end, we've developed alternative fee arrangements, we've developed loyalty programs, and we are deadly serious about telling our clients everything they need to know about costs.
- Fear: I'll be revealed for who I really am. Reality: Most good leaders struggle with imposter syndrome to a degree, myself included. In my experience the best litigation leaders not only question their approach regularly but they invite that type of questioning. See, 10 Criteria that Define Great Trial Teams.
- Fear: I don't want to be told what to do. Reality: Only a non-savvy litigation consultant would tell you what to do. Remember, you're the client. Yes, winning is a priority but so is building and maintaining a relationship with you.
- Fear: I might look bad to my client. Reality: Great litigation consultants pay as much attention to the relationship between you and your client as they do to the relationship they are building with you.
- Fear: I'm supposed to have all the answers. Reality: No, you're not. You're no doubt an expert in many areas, but nobody is an expert in all of them and nobody has the time to prepare for everything leading up to a major trial. Delegation is as much a sign of good leadership as anything else. See, 50 Characteristics of Top Trial Teams.
- Fear: No really, I'm supposed to have more answers than I have. Reality: One of the most important reasons to work with litigation consultants is to get to the point where you can thrive in doing what you do well, and your litigation consultants can do what they are so well trained to do. See, Accepting Litigation Consulting is the New Hurdle for Litigators.
- Fear: I don't want to practice in front of others. Reality: What great athlete, politician, actor, or speaker does not practice in front of others. If you want to be great, practice is non-negotiable. See, The Very Best Use of Coaches in Trial Preparation.
- Fear: Technology makes me uncomfortable. Reality: A great litigation consulting firm will take technology off your hands as much as you like. While many jurisdictions demand technical competence from lawyers now, it is perfectly reasonable to delegate all or most of the tech needs at and leading up to trial. See, From the Hot Seat: To Use or Not to Use Trial Presentation Software.
- Fear: I don't have time. Reality: Using litigation consultants saves time. They take things off your hands that you probably should not be doing anyway. See #10 in 12 Reasons Using Trial Consultants (Like Us) Is Possibly Not Fair.
- Fear: I don't need help - that's for the weak. Reality: The best litigators I work with seek help - all of them. Even trial-challenged litigators I know seek help. In my experience, the only people who don't seek help are people who are afraid they are going to lose. See, 3 Trial Preparation Red Flags That Suggest a Loss is Imminent.