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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 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.

 Now that we are back in the courtroom as opposed to our above-the-waist-only position on Zoom, our witnesses/experts’ body language is once again relevant.In working with witnesses, I developed the “Power Sit” – my shorthand for “Please sit up straight, your back against the back of the chair, with your head level, arms on the arms of the chair,”

 As we slowly come out of the pandemic, albeit in fits and starts, juror attitudes have understandably shifted in these difficult and trying times. It is inevitable that among your jurors there will be those who are recently unemployed, some for the first time in their work-lives, along with others who have lost savings, homes, opportunities, even careers.  

 Now that we’re slowly coming out of the pandemic with its restrictions, trials are resuming. With that, jurors are once again entering your world. Darn. Trials would be so much easier if you didn’t have to deal with jurors. Jurors wander off mentally during your most critical testimony. They are distracted by the need to scratch an itch, or

  As much as jurors resent a witness who lies, you must have inconvertible evidence that someone is out and out lying in order to even suggest it. Even then, it’s best to let the jurors come to the conclusion that a witness is lying on their own. People are persuaded by their own reasoning far more than by your