1This fact pattern, Webb v. Nordick, is owned by the Foundation of the American Board of Trial Advocates and is used here with permission. Mission accomplished. The Red Well: a blog aggregator for views on litigation persuasion. Described as a “recipe for selecting, storing, recovering, combining, and outputting information as they transform diverse and disparate data into a cognitive scenario of ‘what is going on here,’³ jurors’ interpretative scheme is central to their ability to organize information and convert it into a verdict. Girl Power. We Talk, You Listen. For example, assuming that Rhonda Webb’s attorney focused the theme generally on ‘a company that failed to act on what it knew,’ then even a juror who failed to buy that theme 100% would nonetheless have a more favorable view of the Plaintiff’s case if the theme helped that juror spend more time thinking and talking about what the company could have done differently, while focusing less on what Rhonda could have done differently. Getting to an effective theme means getting beyond the catchy phrase, and any theme chosen should not be an impulsive ‘top of the head’ or ‘gut’ determination. Assimilation to anchors for damage awards in a mock civil trial. When repeated, key language can also serve to cue specific thoughts about the case. I Don’t Argue, I Just Explain Why I’m Right. For every exam; A great way to practice; Learn new tricks everyday; For the knowledge hungry; Learn with us; We can make you prepare; The company you can trust; Best mock trials in town; For your betterment; A trial company you can trust I am the defense attorney. Mock Trial Sayings & Slogans. First, it should be targeted toward your toughest audience (the ones who will need to be persuaded). 5 Leach, M. O. ABA Journal. It also targets the Plaintiff’s harder-to-persuade jurors, because defense-oriented jurors are less likely to be swayed by sympathy or appeals to fairness and responsibility. It also becomes evident through discovery that many in the company – including managers and human resources personnel – knew of Rhonda Webb’s complaints about Wilson. Second, the theme should be targeted toward your weaknesses. Common Themes for a Successful Trial. Here is one possibility: You have now had the chance to hear from both Rhonda Webb and Frank Wilson, and they couldn’t have described a situation that was more different…or more similar. Video: Pryor Greed and Lawyers | Parents Rights Blog, On the relationship between ideological and demographic diversity, Inaccuracy in Political Self-Perception: Young Adults Are Not as Conservative as They Believe, Book Review- Social Media as Evidence: Cases, Practice Pointers, and Techniques, Book Review: The Juror Factor: Race and Gender in America’s Civil Courts, The American Society of Trial Consultants. Springfield, IL 62704 Mock Trial Team now presiding. Again, this theme while it may be quite true as it relates to the company, still makes it too easy to call to mind the Plaintiff’s weaknesses (at-work horseplay and romance) and it invites the response, mental or actual “…and neither did Ms. Webb.”  The theme also risks buying into Mr. Wilson’s worldview that harassment is simply “play.”. A. (May, 2007). Public speaking is unavoidable in mock trial, and you should be proud of yourself for tackling it, instead of fearing it like most people do! Editors of The Jury Expert: Themes That Strike a Chord. But that isn’t the way it is supposed to happen. It is Targeted. 4 Hinsz, V., & Indahl, K. (1995). As this is a professional journal, editors will publish comments that are courteous and respectful (even when in disagreement). An effective trial theme will leave a jury with no choice but to apply the facts, presented within the framework of the legal theory of recovery, and award you a STOP! A. A theme should not just address one particular issue, but should instead address the case holistically, and comprehensively. in an open courtroom, these 13 tips will help you find your voice and speak confidently in a public setting. How a theme works depends to a large extent on the specific challenges faced by your side in litigation. These jurors are instead motivated by procedure:  Did the company follow the right steps? The theme from Star Wars can be conveyed in only five notes – a sequence that is so familiar it may be creeping into your head right now. From her supervisor, Frank Wilson, she faced constant sexual comments, continued and unwanted touching of her body, and was held, kissed, and groped: a situation that screams of sexual harassment. Why Do We Ask Jurors To Promise That They Will Do the Impossible? I See Guilty People. Tort Trial Insurance Committee News. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 25, 991-1026. The following is one example of a Silver Bullet incorporating the above theme. Mock trial teams compete against one another, winning trials not by winning a verdict, but by scoring higher than their opponents on ballots kept by in-round judges. While it is not the shortest of the candidates, the selected theme still boils down to a short sentence. If you have the good fortune of having several good candidates for a theme, choose the shortest. Everything matters. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. (1970). Oyez! You all know that from your own work experience and the law, what you will hear just confirms that. Just as your reading glasses can blur distant objects while bringing closer objects into sharper focus, a good mental construct will sharpen some aspects of a situation while causing others to recede into the background. “Nothing matters more than winning. However, those jurors likely to buy into an absolute “no means no” mindset, and to believe that any notice counts as legal notice, are likely to already be Plaintiff-supporters anyway. The Nordick plant manager will tell you that he knew about the situation with Rhonda Webb,but he will also tell you he considered it no big deal – he just had a little talk with the shift supervisor, who then had a little talk with the abuser himself…and that’s it. It addresses two main weaknesses:  One, whether Webb did enough to give notice (that doesn't matter, because Nordick knew); and two, the fact that Webb resigned (only because she had no real choice). The Jury Expert [ISSN: 1943-2208] is a publication of the The American Society of Trial Consultants Because they didn’t, Rhonda Webb now has no option but to be here today, and to ask you for justice. Of course, jurors cannot be programmed quite as easily, but by presenting the strongest thematic language before, after, and during the strongest arguments, Rhonda Webb’s attorney can create a theme that cues jurors to recall the best case strengths. 3 Holstein, J. To say, ‘Nordick, you knew, and it is a big deal.’. Attorneys will generally need to check the natural tendency to speak to the most favorable group, and instead take aim at the toughest jurors – a few of which will almost inevitably survive voir dire. The Jury Expert logo was designed by: Brian Patterson of The Focal Point. Similarly, if your theme serves as your best-view of the case, it can also serve as jurors’ starting point of view. Mock On! (2005). Jurors' Interpretations and Juror Decision-making. Themes That … Stop! In discovery, it becomes clear that the perpetrator considered his frequent sexual comments and occasional touching to fit within the category of “just joking around,” but it also becomes clear that the Plaintiff often willingly participated in workplace horseplay and engaged in an extramarital affair with another employee, her supervisor.

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