The teaching ability of expert witnesses, the attorneys and the case they present translates into enhanced perceptions of credibility. Effective teaching is clear and concise but it is also relevant and immediate. Preparing a simple and fitting defense presentation for a complex set of facts can be challenging, especially if the plaintiff relies on simplistic themes and repeated notions of reptile-based arguments. The good news is that most jurors, because

As the dueling defamation lawsuits between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard approach closing arguments, for some context, it is worth briefly looking at the origins of defamation (also referred to as libel or calumny), which go back thousands of years to the time of the Roman Empire. The Praetorian Edict, codified circa AD 130, declared that an action could be brought for shouting at someone contrary to good morals. From

As courthouses across the country face backlogs of cases and struggle with the best way to conduct jury trials in this “quasi” post-pandemic period, Trial Methods set out to take the pulse of the public by collecting data online from over 150 jury-eligible people from 15 counties across the country. These counties were selected because they represent a range of geographically, demographically and politically diverse subsets of the population. The

When a CEO defendant takes the stand in a case involving fraud they should think twice before attempting to pass the buck. Elizabeth Holmes was not the first head of a major company to be convicted of fraud, nor will she be the last. On the witness stand, Ms. Holmes tried to deflect blame onto her former vice president, her former lab director, her former board of directors, and her

As a divided nation continues to absorb the not-guilty verdict in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, much more about the outcome has come into focus. The Kenosha County jurors did not rush to any type of pre-determined judgment, but carefully weighed the law and facts to reach their ultimate decision. It is also undeniable the law in Wisconsin on self-defense helped Mr. Rittenhouse, as did much of the video evidence

Corporate litigants understandably seek to have trials held in what they believe is the most favorable venue. This often means they prefer to have some type of “home field advantage” to try and capitalize on local familiarity and good graces, and avoid being cast in the trial narrative as a distant out of state corporation. With proper voir dire and a comprehensive jury selection strategy, out of town corporations can

Themes and sub-themes are crucial when trying to persuade a jury. Discrete pieces of evidence are important and key witnesses can certainly make or break a case. But when jurors get in the deliberation room, they will have in their minds a comprehensive story of the case. When jurors go through the actual verdict questions their overarching case perspective will guide them through the verdict form. This is why it

As courthouses across the country are opening up Trial Methods set out to take the pulse of the public by collecting data online from over 300 jury-eligible people from 15 counties across the country. The first part of the study was conducted in June of 2020. To supplement our knowledge-base and see how things compare to 10 months ago, the second part took place in April of 2021. These counties

There has been a great deal of speculation about the intentions of Derek Chauvin juror Brandon Mitchell, since a photo surfaced of his appearance at a march in Washington D.C. from last August. Mr. Mitchell is seen in the photo wearing a Black Lives Matter (BLM) baseball cap and a t-shirt with a picture of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the words “Get your knee off of our necks.” Not

My blog from December 29, 2020 (sorry for the reminder I know we are trying to forget 2020) laid out reasons for getting jurors to talk about Covid-19 at the start of voir dire. My line of thinking was that everyone in the jury pool will have something to say about Covid-19, which opens up a constructive pathway for establishing rapport with jurors during the crucial early stages of trial.