MINNEAPOLIS BRAIN INJURY ATTORNEYS, LAWYERS ARE SUCCESSFUL AND EXPERIENCED TRIAL LAWYERS.
MINNESOTA TRIAL LAWYERS at the Schmidt Salita Law Team know that a really good injury lawyer must be a great trial lawyer-a great litigator. That is true because an injury victim can have a great case but with a weak trial lawyer, the value of the case is weak. In short, the value of any personal injury case is measured against the value that a jury will award at trial. With a weak trial lawyer, the jury verdict will generally be weak. With a strong trial lawyer, the jury verdict will generally be strong.
The same is true with settlements. Insurance companies will not offer maximum value if they know that the injury lawyer handling the case is not a great trial lawyer.
Professional sports teams, whether football, baseball or basketball, keep detailed records on the win-loss records, the scoring averages, and the many statistics of their opponents. Insurance companies do the same. They know very well the quality of the trial skills of the personal injury lawyer representing the injury victim.
THE MINNESOTA TRIAL LAWYERS AT THE SCHMIDT SALITA LAW TEAM ARE TOP TRIAL LAWYERS.
Douglas E. Schmidt and Dean Salita are the lead trial lawyers for the Schmidt Salita Law Team. Schmidt has over 40 years of experience as a trial lawyer with an excellent track record, including a great win-loss record and many jury verdicts and settlements over $1 million. He recently produced a $2.5 million jury verdict in a Hennepin County jury trial of a medical malpractice case.
Dean Salita also is a very skilled and experienced trial lawyer, both in jury trials in District Court and in hundreds of trials in the Workers Compensation systems. Dean’s track record includes the prosecution of a case that produced a settlement in excess of $12 million.
SCHMIDT IS THE AUTHOR OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF JURY PERSUASION.
Schmidt is the author of a respected publication on the subject of jury persuasion entitled The Ten Commandments of Jury Persuasion. The following are excerpts from that text:
I. THOU SHALT HONOR THY JURY IN ALL YOU SAY AND DO.
- Respect the jury’s sacrifice and time investment. Don’t waste time. Try to move the case along. Make occasional reference to your effort to do so. Let the jury know that you share their concern.
- Consider the case from the jury’s perspective at every stage of the trial. Make every effort to present the evidence that the jury would want to receive. Ask the questions the jury would want asked.
- Always stand up when the jury enters and leaves the Courtroom.
- Don’t drink water when the jury has none.
- Don’t smile, laugh, or joke without including the jury.
- Maintain “gentle” eye contact with the jury. Do not stare at them.
- Respect the jury in voir dire. (“Do you have any education beyond the high school level?”)
II. THOU SHALT NOT ACT LIKE A LAWYER, LOOK LIKE A LAWYER, TALK LIKE A LAWYER, OR THINK LIKE A LAWYER.
- Most jurors don’t like lawyers. Remember at all times that most Jurors do not even like lawyers. They will undoubtedly not look like lawyers, not act like lawyers, or talk like lawyers. They will not relate well to “lawyer-types”.
- Above all, be humble Remember that most lawyers are at least secretly “proud” of being a lawyer. The jury will perceive of that pride as basic “arrogance.“
- Don’t be afraid to poke fun at yourself. Humor is okay–especially in a serious case.
- Don’t fraternize with the opposing lawyer. (Jurors see that as being dishonest or “two-faced”. How can you truly believe in your case when you are “buddy-buddy” with the enemy?)
- (It is part of our professional training to be cordial and courteous to opposing lawyers. Lay people simply do not understand that and consider such conduct to be “dishonest” and “two-faced.” Accordingly, formal and polite “disdain” should be employed at all times of the jury).
- Don’t dress like a lawyer.
- (Remember, “the lawyer with the three-piece suit has the burden of proof.” No tasseled shoes, no Rolex watch, no gold chains and no flashy ties.)
- Don’t object, unless absolutely necessary (which is almost never!!!). Jurors perceive lawyers who object as obstructionistic.
- Avoid “lawyer speak”. Eliminate such terms or phrases as:
- “Client” (The use of this term simply reminds the jury that you are a “paid mouthpiece).
- “Subsequent to,” “prior to,,, „ motor vehicle. ” “Testify”
- “Crash” not collision or accident.
III. THOU SHALT HONOR THY CLIENT.
- It is important to remember that it is the client’s case; not the lawyer’s. Every effort should be made to convey that message to the jury. Remember, actions speak louder than words. Do everything possible to show the jury that you really genuinely like your client. Accordingly, it is important to show the jury by both word and deed that the client is important. Consult with your client periodically.
- Ask for a brief recess to consult with the client before final jury selection.
IV. THOU SHALT NOT “BEAT UP- ON WITNESSES.
- Remember that jurors relate much better to witnesses than they do to lawyers. Accordingly, the lawyer who “beats up” on a witness will typically be perceived by the jury to be the “bad guy.”
- Even if the witness truly deserves to be “beaten up”, don’t!!!
V. THOU SHALT, AT ALL TIMES, BE VISUAL AND KINESTHETIC.
- Remember that the typical juror is more visual than auditory.
- “Seeing (not hearing) is believing” Accordingly, the message conveyed by a visual presentation will typically be more persuasive than one conveyed solely in an auditory manner.
- At all times, give the jury something to look at.
- The typical juror is more visual than auditory. He or she is bored to death by the typical trial presentation which is almost totally auditory and desperate to escape the tedium of the words. A visual presentation will capture the jurors’ attention and hold it. Give the jury as many things to look at as possible. (Have you ever noticed how the jury will sit up and take notice the minute a piece of physical or demonstrative evidence is offered or referred to?)
- Remember that visual people are typically quicker and more conclusive in their thought processes.
- The jury that has something to look at will stay more focused and interested.
- Always consider the visual image that you and your client are conveying to the jury. Remember, “actions speak louder than words. ” Never display concern, surprise or effort unintentionally. Always convey righteousness, honesty, and empathy.
VI. THOU SHALT KEEP IT BRIEF AND KEEP IT SIMPLE.
- Be mindful of the fact that the jury doesn’t want to be here. Avoid repetition and delays.
- Use simple language and commonly understood analogies.
- Use colorful speech. Words that Work. Terry Morrow.
VII. THOU SHALT MAKE THY POINT BEFORE THY JURY FALLS ASLEEP.
- Jurors have an extremely short attention span. Some Judges have stated that they believe it to be as short as 2-5 minutes. Yet, trial lawyers typically “waste” that “window of attention” be laying the foundation for the really important question rather than to hit the jury with the real “zinger” while they are awake.
- Do something to wake the jury up periodically. Develop techniques to do so. Directing the jury’s attention to an exhibit or a chart is helpful. Asking the witness to make a drawing is another technique to awaken the jury.
- Learn to recognize when the jury is awake. Work hard to make an important point while they are awake.
VIII. THOU SHALT TELL A STORY.
Story telling skills are important to the trial lawyer. The most basic rule of trial persuasion is to present a story to the jury. Everyone responds to a story. Everyone wants to hear a story. People remember a story much better than an assorted group of isolated facts. Accordingly, the mission is to tell a story, in opening statement, in the evidence, and in the closing argument.
Do not let the jury think that your presentation is only “a story.’ Do not refer to it as “a story.” Don’t tell the jury that they are hearing “a story.” Nevertheless, present the evidence in a story form.
IX. THOU SHALT BE THE “NICE GUY”.
- Be sincere. Be honest and present an honest case. Apologize whenever you can. But don’t overdo it!!!
- Don’t be afraid to make fun of yourself. Remember that it is easier to forgive those who make mistakes and are humble than those who are proud and arrogant.
- Remember the Baboon Rule, “The higher the baboon climbs on the tree, the more his ass shows.”
- Be polite to the court personnel.
- Above all, be the “nice guy”.
X. THOU SHALT NOT TELL THE JURY WHAT TO DO.
- Don’t tell your jury where they “must” go. Instead, “show them the way to go home.” Let the jury find their own way home-make their own decision.. Let them be proud of their own conclusion.
- Remember Newton’s Rule:-For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. I.e., tell the jury what to do, and they will immediately tend to want to do just the opposite!!!
- Remember, you should not try to “win” the case. Rather, it is your mission to help the jury find the truth with your guidance!!!
ABOVE ALL-DO UNTO THY JURY AS THEY WOULD HAVE YOU DO UNTO THEM!!!!
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