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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 The value of visuals in trial work is well established, in that images emphasize and clarify testimony or evidence. However, researchshows that visuals have impact in yet another way, which can be put to powerful use in the courtroom. Scientists in New Zealand and Canada examined what satirist Stephen Colbert calls “truthiness” – the feeling that something is true.

 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

In my ongoing research of what jurors think and how they decide cases, I read umpteen blogs, tweets and more authored by those who have served. Even though the original “CSI” television show and its many offshoots are long past (well, mostly), the “CSI effect” is remarkably enduring. One would do well to pay more attention to it. Simply put,

 Our world has become a ‘world-in-pictures’ with virtually everything translated into a visual format, or at the very least, accompanied by an icon or picture of some related sort. Given this reality, litigators have been encouraged to create visuals and graphics to support the presentation of their case, to the maximum allowed by the Court.All this is well and

 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