I once heard a jury consultant espouse the concerns of what not to take and wear to the courtroom. “Don’t wear a rolex watch. Don’t drive a big fancy car”. By the time he was finished speaking, he almost had me believing that I should wear some mis-matched jacket and pair of pants. He believed that you didn’t want to look too successful to the jury.
Another jury consultant took a complete opposite approach, “Look successful, the jury won’t award your client money, if they think that you (the lawyer) need it too badly.” Another suggested that you should never be the center of attention in any courtroom. It reminded me of the Senior referee, when I was a basketball ref, during my law school years. “If you leave the game and they don’t remember who called the game (ref), then you probably did a good job officiating.”
One other consultant told me that it didn’t matter that much what you said. He focused on the visual items. “I can win a case with just 3 photographs”. Of course, the amount of money that he wanted to be paid to determine and arrange those photos in your opening, was something short of amazing. Plus, there are some colors that you can’t use because they are not persuasive.
Sometimes consultants make you feel like a new diet. “Eat more meat”. Another might have you focused on garlic soup and cucumbers, as the panacea of weigh loss.
This blog came to mind, I just saw a cell phone ad, with security asking the guy at the airport, “Is it a phone or a computer?” With technology advancements, it’s getting harder to differentiate.
I was in a small court house in the back side of nowhere, in the State of South Carolina. The sign said “No phones”. Cell phones with the capability of keeping your calendar schedule, had just come out. I had never been real good about keeping a Daytimer calendar; so I was determined to give my new phone a shot, with organizing my schedule.
The Deputies at the door, would not let me in with my phone. I tried to persuasively claim it as my calendar and that I wouldn’t be able to set trial without it. I felt like the guy in the commercial. I could feel myself getting angry and I knew that would get me no where fast. “I’ll bet you don’t even have a microwave to warm up your meat and 3”. No, I didn’t really say that, but……
Right now, I am typing this blog on my IPad, because of a few computer issues. I am getting ready for trial and working on what exhibits I will “make real big”. I have noticed that jurors seem to almost pay more attention to the TV, when I play video testimony, then when a live witness takes the stand. That seems especially true, when there are exhibits.
To avoid making a long blog longer, I’ll get to the point. (I know you just breathed a sigh of relief) You don’t have to have evidence that is similar to the movie “Avatar”. I am thankful, though, that there are visuals that can easily show the scene and describe the injuries.
A very wise consultant did tell me something about evidence that has always stuck with me. “If you tell, they may remember; if you show; more will grasp your message; if you involve, they will understand”
Following a jury trial a while back, a juror came up to me. She shook my hand and it surprised me. Most of the time, I don’t get to speak to jurors right after the trial. “Thank you”, she said. “At least you made it interesting”.
What she was expressing is the value of technology in getting to the truth. Oh, and it’s also helpful that I can get my cellphone/calendar/Ipad/computer into the Courtroom.