Category: listening

  • Jury Selection: Simple Rule 15: The Bat Rule

    If the rules were in some particular order, this would have received much higher ranking.  Simple Rule 15: The Bat Rule: Ping, then listen. Or fail. Because bats, you know, use echolocation: ping! and detect food and obstacles by the signal that bounces back. A bat that doesn’t ping doesn’t eat, but neither does a […]

  • Jury Selection: Simple Rule 14: The Atticus Finch Rule

    Remember the scene near the end of To Kill a Mocking Bird in which Atticus Finch, having lost the case, wearily packs up his things to leave the courtroom? As he’s preparing to leave, the blacks in the gallery stand up for him; Reverend Sykes tells Scout, “Miss Jean Louise? Miss Jean Louise, stand up! […]

  • Always Ready, Seldom Prepared

    The title of this post is, according to Terry MacCarthy (buy the cross-examination CDs!), the criminal-defense lawyer’s credo. I had always thought of it as descriptive — the way we are — rather than prescriptive — the way we should be. We should be prepared, shouldn’t we? Yes and no. There are things we can […]

  • You’re Not Listening!

    Listen: If you are a private lawyer, you can get more people to hire you. If you are a court-appointed lawyer, you can help your clients appreciate you more. You can pick a better jury. You can demolish your adversary’s case. You can perform a better direct examination. You can perform a better cross-examination. You […]

  • Why Mindfulness Matters in Trial

    A classic mistake made by inexperienced lawyers is to write out the questions to be asked in direct examination. When the questions are written out, the answers don’t matter because the lawyer knows what the next question is regardless of what the witness says. Likewise, an inexperienced lawyer (or one who has not unlearned the […]