A Winning Tip

A Winning Tip is jointly written by Dr. Noelle Nelson and Diane Rumbaugh. Dr. Nelson is a clinical psychologist, author, and consultant. Ms. Rumbaugh is a PR consultant and author. Together they provide helpful advice on trial proceedings.

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 You would think that potential jurors, knowing full well that their written juror questionnaires will be scrutinized by the lawyers on both sides, if not also by trial consultants and other professionals, would respond to written queries the same as they do to oral voir dire. Certainly the same as jurors would respond to Your Honor at sidebar or

 First impressions are tremendously powerful. It takes less than a minute for you or your witnesses, to establish a credible first impression with the jurors, one which, once established, will be very difficult to change or alter in any way.Credibility is founded on trustworthiness. And those we trust display more trustworthy behaviors: more head nods, more eye contact, more

Most cases don’t settle, or are very challenging to settle, and end up in trial because there are grey areas in the case – situations or testimony which can be interpreted in different ways. Computer animation is often thought of as an effective, albeit expensive, way to show events. Research tells us, however, that there is a much more compelling

The words you use in framing your question will encourage witnesses to think and respond differently. This can be critical to how your case unfolds.  For example, in a study in which a group of people were asked to estimate a basketball player’s height, when asked “How tall is he?” subjects answered on average, “79 inches.” When asked, “How short

 Jurors are told by the Judge not to research anything having to do with the trial, which is fine–except when a juror finds themselves bumped off the panel by a Judge for daring to look up a legal term in the dictionary. Which has happened, probably more than once.What is wrong with this picture? Why should a juror be

 A disturbing comment I hear repeatedly in jury debriefings and focus groups is that the attorneys do not connect their points or evidence to the specifics of the complaint.Furthermore, attorneys rarely fully explain the jury instructions to the jury, and worse – fail to tie in those instructions to the attorney’s interpretation of the case.This leaves jurors in the

 Delving into the group affiliation tendencies and reading habits of your jurors can give you valuable clues to whether or not a juror will be empathic, meaning able or willing to help others in need.We’ve usually taken this to mean that the nature of the groups people join, and the material they read, are good indicators of how jurors

 It used to be thought that by activating dire consequences in jurors’ minds, jurors would rush to fix or avoid consequences. This has held true whether one is plaintiff justifying huge damages, or defense arguing “They’re the bad guy, not us. Don’t let them get away with it.” And, certainly, threats to life, limb or pocketbook attract our attention.