Casting the Characters in Your Case
When it comes to trial, the jury has more power than anyone else in the courtroom. As attorneys, it is our job to always think about the jury’s perspective and captivate them with our client’s story.
Recently on Trial Lawyer Nation, Michael sat with trial attorney and prominent legal industry speaker, Randi McGinn. The two delved into the importance of creating your story for the jury. Randi believes the story you create should, “put the jurors in the zone of danger that your client was in; the story has to be about them, rather than your client.”
Michael and Randi also discussed the “characters” that should be present in your story for the jury. Every story needs a villain, and as Randi says, “the more horrible your villain, the bigger your verdict.” A hero should be the centerpiece of your case and story, and oftentimes there’s more than one hero in a case. It could be the one honest witness, the whistleblower, or the survivor. But as Michael and Randi both agreed, the jurors are the true heroes of the case as they are the only people with the power to change a bad situation.
In another episode of Trial Lawyer Nation, Michael chats with Lisa Blue, a psychologist and trial attorney who is passionate about lawyers and judges. Lisa shares important insights when it comes to thinking of the jury’s point of view.
When Michael asks for advice on selecting a jury, Lisa says to get your audience to be comfortable. She starts her jury selections just like she would start a therapy session as a psychologist. She lets them know, “no rules, you can’t get in trouble, you can’t say anything wrong, and you are safe to say anything you feel.”
Lisa says as trial lawyers, “it’s a great concept to understand framing.” It’s all about what you tell the jury. You want to get the audience to feel so comfortable that they can be brutally honest with you. Lisa also points out that people will judge cases not by evidence, but by beliefs. The jury will view evidence through their filter. When creating your story, be mindful of the different “filter” possibilities through which your story and evidence may be viewed.
Lisa’s points are important to keep in mind as you prepare your story for your jury. Use these points to plan which characters will tell your story. Focus groups are a great way to gather insights about the story you’ve created. They’ll allow you to understand your story from different viewpoints and adjust if necessary.
To hear more from Michael, Randi, and Lisa, be sure to listen to their full episodes on Trial Lawyer Nation.