In 4 Corners of Your Case, trial consultant expert Molly M. Murphy shares her strategies to get the jury to understand and connect with your case.
Craft the story of your case in a manner that touches the senses of right and wrong. Our listening filters hear what makes sense and what seems right in our own mind. We bring our childhood through adulthood memories in to play when they are called upon through smells, sights, sounds, words, phrasing, tone, images and colors. Our senses are the key promoters to remembering an event or experience. Our attachment to a story leads to a connection. We are all storytellers so we view others’ story with a discerning eye. Question if the storyteller is telling the truth, making it up or worse, trying to be deceptive. The jury is faced with two parties telling them that their side is right and the other side is not admitting to their wrong doing.
There are four main points that you want the jury to understand and connect with your case. You should be able to tell your story with these main points.
The first corner is the “Why” behind the story. What is this case about without all the nuances of the details? Tell the story in the time frame that the events happened. Let the jury know the issues that they will have to resolve. Describe the events, injury and the damage caused. The time frame of events and the witness’s knowledge is critical to get the jury interested and involved in your case.
The second corner is the “History” of the story. Introduce the background of the characters in the case: individuals, corporations, company, departments and divisions and establish the connection of these players. Jurors like to know who the characters in the story are and how they fit in the case. When jurors feel a connection to a witness from the opening statement there may be a heightened interest when that witness testifies. Help the jury connect with the witnesses through photos, stories and vividly place them in the storyline.
The third corner is the “Details” of the story. The devil is in the details. What facts tie together and supports your story. Introduce the specific dialog of the key and intriguing witnesses. Do not interrupt your story with your opponent’s story. This is your time with the jury. Be aware if you are telegraphing any fears, weaknesses, witness problems or lack of strong evidence. This is your opportunity to present your storyboard. Present a visual story with a timeline, milestones, photos, graphics etc. Highlight favorable and honorable characteristics of your case.
The fourth corner is the “Summation” of the story. How the facts and the nuances fit together making your story credible and believable. Highlight the issues that you want the jury to pay attentions to during trial. Present with the notion that common sense is connected to the facts of the case and it will lead the jurors to do the right thing. Most importantly do not tell them how to think!
Molly M. Murphy is a Trial Consultant and a Mediator in Santa Monica, California. Over the last 20 years, Ms. Murphy has consulted on well over 600 cases throughout the country, including civil, criminal and class action