Likeability shouldn’t matter in the courtroom. A lawyer’s personality should be irrelevant. The facts should be paramount, the only thing jurors attend to, but jurors are persuaded by a combination of factors. Facts are but one of many.
Your likeability matters. Fortunately, this isn’t high school, and your likeability isn’t based on an indecipherable “cool factor.” Likeability is based on traits anyone can easily acquire or express. Among those traits are:
1. Politeness and civility
Jurors appreciate attorneys who are polite and civil with everyone in the courtroom, from the clerk to hostile witness to alternate juror.
2. Appropriate passion
Jurors like attorneys who show zeal for their client’s cause, without stooping to unwarranted bashing of the other side. Arguing inconsistencies, strength of evidence and the like are fine. Pointing out opposing counsel or a witness’s weaknesses is fine. Beating up on opposing counsel or a witness is not.
Strange as it may seem, the attorney who provides the clearest, most to-the-point roadmap through the trial, the clearest, easiest-to-understand, succinct examination of witnesses, the clearest description of evidence, and the clearest explanation of jury instructions—is the attorney who is most liked, and will, in most cases, carry the day.
Master these three traits, and you’ll soon be the “best-liked” and “most-winning” lawyer in the courthouse.