Please join me in wishing all the authors of A2L's Litigation Consulting Report blog a Happy 8 Year Blogging Anniversary!
Please join me in wishing all the authors of A2L's Litigation Consulting Report blog a Happy 8 Year Blogging Anniversary!
It's my eighth year writing an end-of-year top-10 style article. That feels pretty great because in that time, we have published more than 600 articles and A2L's Litigation Consulting Report blog has been visited one million times. Wow, right?
There are so many legal industry "best of" surveys that I have a hard time keeping track of them. Just about every month in one of them A2L is voted the top firm in either jury consulting, litigation graphics consulting, litigation consulting, or for our trial tech/hot seat services. I am grateful for our clients and blog readers who take the time to help and vote for us. It is a very big deal for me to see the company I helped build these past 24 years be recognized. While I know our people are the best at what they do, it is still it's nice to hear other people say it too. In a sea of surveys, one rises above the rest — The annual Best of the National Law Journal. A2L has been named #1 in this NLJ survey before. Today, I'm asking a favor of our readers. Would you help us be voted #1 in the nation again? It takes 2 minutes to help us be (publicly) recognized as the nation's top litigation consulting firm. We are nominated in four categories. Here's how you vote: Go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BestofNLJ2019 before November 1, 2018 Answer at least questions 11, 55, 58 & 59 Click through the next buttons until you click DONE.
It has become quite common for major corporations to institute preferred vendor programs for their legal representation, under which a limited number of law firms pre-qualify to do legal work for the corporations and the corporations turn exclusively to these law firms. As an article on the American Bar Association’s website noted in 2014: Companies create preferred counsel lists not only to cut costs but also to build relationships with subject-matter experts relevant to their industries in their most important geographical areas. By consolidating work across fewer firms, companies deepen their counsel’s familiarity with their issues and get more consistency in their representation. Corporations are also using preferred vendor programs to select other types of outside professionals – including, significantly for our purposes, litigation consultants, jury consultants, litigation graphics consultants, and trial technicians. A few years ago, in fact, we published an article here suggesting no fewer than 17 best practices that should apply to the implementation of a preferred vendor program for trial consultants. The third of these suggested best practices perhaps should have been listed as the first, since the way I see things in our industry, it is the most relevant to what is going on today. It was: Remember, litigation is generally a one-time thing: You never want to be so focused on price that you overlook this. For trial support, you generally only get one bite at the apple, and vendors, especially new ones, can be a risk. So, as you consider procurement, be mindful of quality. Trust me, all firms are not created equal in this industry.
At A2L, we are either conducting or actively planning a mock trial 365 days a year. As you probably know, mock trials are a tool that is very often used by serious trial teams involved in large trials to help uncover the ideal strategy to win a case. In a typical mock trial that we conduct, over 40 jurors will be recruited in the trial venue through a rigorous screening process. We even incorporate expected voir dire questions into the process. Based on individual verdicts and backgrounds, mock jurors are carefully evaluated to create three or four panels of 10 to 12 mock jurors. “Clopenings,” combined argumentative opening/closing statements, are presented for both sides of the case, litigation graphics are used to support these statements, and videotaped witness testimony may be included as part of the presentation. Typically, real-time data collection methods using an Audience Response System (“ARS”) will be used, similar to the approve vs. disapprove line graphs shown on the news during election seasons. Deliberations are conducted. A focus discussion following deliberations is facilitated by our jury consulting and litigation consulting team members. All proceedings are typically observed through one-way mirrors or via closed-circuit TV, as shown in the included image. Watching the deliberations is shocking for most trial lawyers. Without the constraints of the law or internal consistency, jurors’ responses can seem inconsistent, irrational, inexplicable and thus, frightening and random. They are not. Jurors rarely understand the cases as much as hoped, and they follow predictable behavior patterns (see 10 Things Every Mock Jury Ever Has Said). While their rationale may not match the lawyers’, there is a rationale to those willing to understand it from the jurors’ perspective. Finally, data are collected from the jurors, the results from the deliberations are tallied, and an oral and written report is presented to the trial team. This report includes specific tactics, both rhetorical and visual, that should be used at trial. We have written and taught about best practices for mock trials extensively. Some of those articles and webinars include: The 5 Very Best Reasons to Conduct a Mock Trial 6 Good Reasons to Conduct a Mock Trial 6 Ways to Use a Mock Trial to Develop Your Opening Statement 5 Ways That a Mock Trial Informs and Shapes Voir Dire Questions 12 Astute Tips for Meaningful Mock Trials 11 Problems with Mock Trials and How to Avoid Them 7 Questions You Must Ask Your Mock Jury About Litigation Graphics 10 Things Every Mock Jury Ever Has Said How Early-Stage Focus Groups Can Help Your Trial Preparation Webinar: 12 Things Every Mock Juror Ever Has Said - Watch Anytime Together, these resources provide an excellent manual for conducting a mock trial for an upcoming case. However, they don’t deeply address a trial team behavior I’ve seen show up in just about every mock trial our firm has conducted: The lawyers try to win – and I don’t mean fairly.
Here at A2L, we are delighted to introduce John Moustakas, our new Managing Director of Litigation Consulting and General Counsel. John comes to us from the international law firm Goodwin Procter, where he was a partner in the firm’s Securities Litigation and White Collar Defense Practice. John is a highly successful trial lawyer who has tried more than 45 cases to a jury. John spent more than six years as a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, before returning to Shea & Gardner, where he had begun his legal career. In addition to trying numerous criminal cases for the United States, John has tried a variety of civil matters in a combined 20 years in private practice at Shea & Gardner and its successor, Goodwin Procter. John laments the fact that, for many reasons, far fewer cases go to trial in the corporate world than even 20 years ago. “My approach to practicing law is pretty old school,” he says. A generalist at heart, John “always loved the variety of litigation and never wanted to be pigeon-holed.” He’s tried a wide variety of matters ranging from homicides and public corruption on the criminal side to civil disputes over contracts, torts, real estate, employment, securities, and civil rights, to name a few. The unique focus of his new position attracted John. “Above all else, I’ve most enjoyed the storytelling aspect of my work -- figuring out how to engage the jury and make them want us to win.” Although he will no longer be a client’s advocate in court, he relishes the trade-off. “Instead of trying my own case every four or five years, if I’m lucky, every matter I’ll be consulting on will be one bound for trial. If I can leverage my experience to help others try their cases more persuasively, I will be one very happy guy,” he says. John says that one key to a trial lawyer’s success is to follow his or her own natural style and temperament. “The jury, as a collective, is uncannily able to sniff out BS,” he says. “Pretend to be something or someone you’re not, and they will see right through you.” Convinced that his authenticity was the greatest contributor to his success as a trial lawyer, John’s mission is to keep A2L’s clients true to their nature. “So, while the goal is to help our clients strengthen their presentations with an emphasis on creating resonant themes and the engaging visuals that support them,” he says, “we help by pruning, not slashing -- by seasoning, not scrapping the recipe. The lawyers it is our privilege to work with need nothing more. While they cover the entire waterfront, sweating every detail, we have the luxury of focusing narrowly and with a bit of detachment. And that is not only a rewarding role, but one that our clients feel makes a meaningful difference.” John looks forward to bringing his insights and experiences to bear in this new chapter of his career in a way that makes that kind of difference. He can be reached at moustakas@A2LC.com or 703.548.1799. Related A2L resources about storytelling, litigation consulting, mock trials, and creating trial presentations that persuade: 9 Reasons Litigation Consultant is the Best Job Title in Litigation Who Is, and Who Isn’t, a Litigation Consultant? Free PDF: Why Work with A2L on Your Next Trial 3 Types of Litigation Graphics Consultants Top trial lawyers talk about working with A2L Top trial lawyers explain why storytelling is so critical for persuasion 10 Things Litigation Consultants Do That WOW Litigators Free E-Book: What is the Value of a Litigation Consultant? 21 Reasons a Litigator Is Your Best Litigation Graphics Consultant 3 Types of Litigation Graphics Consultants Free Webinar: Storytelling as a Persuasion Tool Free E-Book: Storytelling for Litigators Your Coach Is Not Better Than You – in the Courtroom or Elsewhere 10 Types of Value Added by Litigation Graphics Consultants Explaining the Value of Litigation Consulting to In-House Counsel 17 Reasons Why Litigation Consultants Are Better at Graphics Than Law Firms $300 Million of Litigation Consulting and Storytelling Validation Top 7 Things I've Observed as a Litigation Consultant
This week, Regina Hopper takes the reins as A2L's Managing Director of Litigation Consulting. In her new role, Regina will be responsible for directing the efforts of A2L's 20+ litigation consultants, litigation graphic artists, and trial technicians nationwide. For A2L clients, who are most often trial attorneys from large law firms representing large companies, her experience brings added depth to A2L's already robust 23-year-old litigation consulting and litigation communications practices. Regina comes to A2L with an extremely broad background in litigation, trade association work, public policy, and the media. She joined A2L in 2017 and she also serves as senior vice president for global public policy of GRIDSMART, a company that develops smart, cost-effective technologies to improve the safety and efficiency of the nation’s transportation system. Before joining GRIDSMART, Regina was president and CEO of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America, the nation’s largest organization dedicated to advancing the research, development, and deployment of intelligent transportation systems to improve the nation’s surface transportation system. The group has taken the lead in introducing Congress, the media, and the nation to the concept of driverless cars. She also served for four years as president and CEO of America’s Natural Gas Alliance, a trade group that advocates for the development and utilization of natural gas resources. While there, Regina first encountered A2L who she engaged to support ANGA's advocacy and persuasive communication efforts. Regina also served as executive vice president of US Telecom and of the American Trucking Associations. Prior to that she was senior vice president of litigation communications at Weber McGinn, a leading public relations firm. Regina was a D.C.-based correspondent for CBS News, where she won an Emmy award for her work on the “48 Hours” show. In her various trade association positions, Regina developed an expertise in assisting industry leaders communicate legal and public policy initiatives to the public and federal, state and local policymakers. Regina is a graduate of the University of Arkansas School of Law licensed in Arkansas. In 2012, CEO Update selected Hopper as one of the nation's top association CEOs. In that same year, The Hill named her to its annual list of top lobbyists. “What pulls my whole career together is my interest in storytelling and my ability to tell a story,” Regina says. “Whether someone is doing advocacy for a trade association, testifying as an expert witness, or reporting a story as a White House correspondent, it’s always a matter of working with a team to tell a story. It all has to be concise, understandable, well-written and logical.” Regina succeeds Tony Klapper who is now Assistant General Counsel for Products, Regulatory, and Litigation at Volkswagen. Tony succeeded Ryan Flax who is now an Administrative Patent Judge at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Regina Hopper can be reached at 703.548.1799 or hopper@A2LC.com. Additional articles and resources available from A2L related to litigation consulting, litigation communications, litigation graphics, litigation storytelling, and litigation technology include: Top trial lawyers talk about working with A2L Top trial lawyers explain why storytelling is so critical for persuasion 10 Things Litigation Consultants Do That WOW Litigators Free E-Book: What is the Value of a Litigation Consultant? 21 Reasons a Litigator Is Your Best Litigation Graphics Consultant 3 Types of Litigation Graphics Consultants Free Webinar: Storytelling as a Persuasion Tool Free E-Book: Storytelling for Litigators Your Coach Is Not Better Than You – in the Courtroom or Elsewhere 10 Types of Value Added by Litigation Graphics Consultants Explaining the Value of Litigation Consulting to In-House Counsel 17 Reasons Why Litigation Consultants Are Better at Graphics Than Law Firms $300 Million of Litigation Consulting and Storytelling Validation Top 7 Things I've Observed as a Litigation Consultant 9 Reasons Litigation Consultant is the Best Job Title in Litigation
Dr. Robert Cialdini has identified six basic principles of persuasion. One of them is liking. If people like you, they are more likely to say yes. Why is that important to a litigator? Quite simply, any litigator wants to persuade a jury, judge or other adjudicator to agree with her, and if the adjudicator likes her, she is more likely to win her case. The key to getting someone to like you is to remember that it’s not just a momentary feeling but a sum of everything that the person thinks about you – and that the feeling is not permanent, but you can at any time do something to improve or to detract from the person’s feeling about you. As a litigator, you are always one misstep from losing the audience. Here are ten things you can do as a litigator that will make you more likable: Focus on how you are perceived. In 2015 Jimmy Fallon put U2 in disguise and had them play at the 42nd subway stop in New York City. Even with cameras around, and the odd fact that the lead singer sounded just like Bono, they were largely ignored. Jimmy then framed the band (again in disguise) as a local band wanting support. Suddenly, once it was known they are U2, everyone went crazy. The most remarkable part was seeing an adolescent looking at them when in disguise as if he is waiting for a car crash, but the next time you see him, after the reveal, he is dancing and completely loving what he is hearing. They music did not change, just the framing. How you appear to your audience will set the stage for how they react and their willingness to give you the benefit of the doubt. See also, Like It or Not: Likability Counts for Credibility in the Courtroom. Ask questions. It is human nature to be helpful, and we all have the desire to share what we know. When someone appears to need our help, we tend to like them more because we are the ones providing answers. Just remember HOW you ask them is crucial.