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Latest Posts

What is your groundhog score?

Surely you have seen the Movie with Bill Murry “Groundhog Day”. If not please do. The lead character repeats the same day over and over and over and over and learns along the way that if his approach is to master the day and give each day his absolute best the result is a transformation from a miserable existence to one of great joy and progress.Please take a second to ask yourself what is your groundhog score? How do you rate your approach to each day? If you approach it as Bill Murray first does being grumpy, angry discontent give...

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You need problems

When a Crocodile Eats the Sun by Peter Godwin. A story about a man summoned back to Zimbabwe for his father’s death at a time when the nation is spiraling downward due to a dictator. No current political parallel is intended. Rather I pulled this book off the shelf to study different book liner notes. It was a moment of insight into how lawyers can better approach describing our cases. Not just for a jury, but for a judge or the opposition. How do you describe your case? Is it like someone who has just read a wonderful book and...

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Flower your jury instructions

__________________________________________________________________ 1.5.2021 Select your jury instruction up front. Integrate with your theme and theories. Jurors often think lawyers want to avoid the law. Show them the law they are apply the facts to in a way to help them understand and to clarify and overcome your opposition. Judge Gregory Alarcon, of the Los Angeles Superior Court in an article “CACI Meets the Bard” in the Advocate Magazine, July 2020 suggests using instructions as the spine of your case. In scripts and stories that is the narrative thread that continues the central idea of the story, or a theme-driven trial He has seen many...

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2021 and new opportunities!

Will trials start? A foundation of stoicism is understanding that we have no control over some events, like CV19, but we do have control over how we respond. This applies to trials and about everything else. How we respond is our measure. How do we make the most of what we have in the obstacles we face? CV19 will not last forever and using our time to learn and grow as trial attorneys is time well spent. Mastering the tools of trial in terms of visual presentation, technique and even who we are and how we approach trial is time...

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Jury Selection Applied to Daily Life

Voir dire is a process of finding out what people think so you can prevent people with extreme views from ruining the case. What about keeping them from ruining your life, your economy, your environment your world. Equally import one could suggest. Perhaps voir dire in all aspects of life is a helpful tool to learn it and to gain the same benefits.Daily life, networking meetings, lunches, phone calls all lend themselves to some application of voir dire and in the process may help develop your jury selection skill set and be a better person. Being interested in others more...

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Options to adversity

What is a legal case but a conflict between two or more interests? A trial is one way to resolve it by having others decide the solution. What is it that you believe 12 people will see that the other side cannot? And likewise, what is there you cannot see about the other side's view. Is this mutual blindness of adversity wise and/or responsible for overwhelming and unnecessary struggle and expense? Is the adversarial process truly deserving of perpetration as has been wired into our thinking or is it just a roadblock, and it is within our power to remove? We...

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Tennis, golf, and trial?

Tennis, golf, and trial? Lasctrial.com How often you practice will determine your skill set in any endeavor. Why would a trial be different? Yet what practice does one get? Talking on the phone is not the same as being in front of a jury or a judge. Law and motion do not prepare you. Essentially lawyers often go to trial with confidence and chock full of everything they learned in a two hour mock trial class and a three-hour evidence class. Imagine getting in a boxing ring after watching “Rocky”. Think you might take a few to the face? Well so might...

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PowerPoint in opening statements?

Some judges will allow PowerPoint presentations in opening statements. You likely will have to show it to the opposition before you can use it. They may agree, but do not count on it. Avoid argument in the PowerPoint. Use it in good faith. Opening is to be an overview. Confirm with the judge your right to use it and provide a written copy to the court and your opposing counsel in advance. A good time might be with your pretrial documents submitting it with a request to use it along with a copy for review. Yes, the other side will...

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Trial elevators!

You get on an elevator on the 1st floor and you must explain your case and ask for an opinion on the 25th floor. When you can do that, you have a great tool. Precision in thought and a mini focus group. A 34-year-old lady crossing the street gets hit by a motorcycle turning the corner, wow, what happened? You might get, “it was going too fast, damn motorcycles”, or “she wasn’t looking, people are so careless”. What these people say maybe just as valuable as any insight you could obtain. What made the difference? What? Asking what instead of why? Simple....

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Fooling yourself?

Gerry Spence perhaps one of the greatest trial lawyers of our times, not just because of his wins, but also because of his losses and the person he became through his personal trials and how they molded the man he is in a courtroom. Know thyself. Being real is tough let alone in a courtroom. You may think you are who you project to be but as seen by 12 sets of eyes, it may appear otherwise. You may think you appear credible, while the jury sees you as phony for pretending, they may see that your actions state something...

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