Category: Reptile

  • Battle of the Neuropeptides

    Let’s say you’re a criminal-defense lawyer, and you’re about to pick a jury. You want the jury to trust you and to be generous with your client, but you’re not sure you can trust them to. What can you do to improve your chances? Here’s the new-agey TLC kumbaya answer: trust them first.

  • Means and Ends

    New second-career criminal-defense lawyer desperately in need of a mentor Joe Attorney writes: [Reptile] is not a technique I could comfortably embrace.  It suggests we should manipulate the more primitive emotions and parts of the brain to gain the desired result.  To me it suggests that lawyers should worry more about ends than the means. […]

  • Goosing Their Religion

    I've noticed that trial lawyers, when their beliefs about how to try cases are questioned, sometimes react as though the questions are personal attacks. This came to my attention in discussions among Trial Lawyers College alumni about the management of that institution. Most alumni remained silent, but the truth—that the avowedly anti-institutional College is run […]

  • Go Go Godzilla

    I had a conversation recently with a woman who had accused her husband of hitting her. I was explaining her position in the criminal case: “You won’t have a lawyer, since you’re not a party. You’re a witness.” “I’m not a witness,” she replied indignantly, “I’m a victim.” This is, I’m afraid, the spirit of […]

  • Input Needed: Reptile in Criminal Cases

    David Ball, co-author of Reptile, is asking criminal lawyers to help him develop a list of “reasons we lose criminal defense cases.” He wants to hear from lawyers in the trenches who deal with these problems all the time.  The list will help him and his team develop the use of Reptilian advocacy for criminal […]

  • Reptiles Revisited: Lizards Don’t Label [updated]

    It turns out that insurance defense lawyers are putting at least some effort into finding new ways to try cases. They have a magazine, For the Defense, and an associated blog (sadly uncommented-on). Kathy Cochran, writing on the blog, takes note of David Ball and Don Keenan’s Reptile: This book posits that jurors must be […]

  • The Ethics of Pathos, Part II

    In The Ethics of Pathos, Part I I discussed Walter Olson’s ethical question, “Should lawyers trying cases make an appeal to jurors’ reptile brains?” While writing that post I came to the conclusion that it’s not unethical to use even the darkest of persuasive arts (I’m a student of hypnosis and other trial technologies) to […]

  • The Ethics of Pathos, Part I

    Over at Overlawyered Walter Olson asks, “Should lawyers trying cases make an appeal to jurors’ ‘reptile brains’?” In writing about Reptile Trials in Lizards Don’t Laugh, I hadn’t even considered this question. If Walter’s were a practical “should” question—”will it sometimes benefit clients for lawyers trying cases to appeal to jurors’ reptile brains?”—then the answer […]

  • Lizards Don’t Laugh.

    Personal injury lawyer Paul Luvera has written about Applying Reptile Concepts in Trial—describing how plaintiffs’ lawyers should appeal to jurors’ reptile brains. The reptile brain is the core of the human brain, sitting right at the top of the spine surrounded by the later-developing dog brain and ape brain. The reptile brain is a survival […]