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I'm absolutely thrilled to announce the release of Persuadius's latest free litigation e-book, The Opening Statement Toolkit v2. Version 1 (2015) was our most popular ebook of all time, with many litigators telling me, "This is essential reading." You may now download this new book without strings attached by clicking here. In this 271-page book, you will find 80 articles curated from Persuadius's massive collection of posts related to litigation and persuasion. Each article relates to opening statements in some way. From organizing the opening to the use of storytelling techniques to persuade, the book contains an amazing array of tips that will prove valuable to the novice litigator and the veteran alike.

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When presenting your case in court, demonstrative evidence (interchangeably referred to as litigation graphics or trial graphics) can be a powerful tool to help convey complex information to a judge or jury. Demonstrative evidence includes visual aids, physical objects, and multimedia presentations that help illustrate key points in a case. Here are 11 timely tips for effectively using demonstrative evidence in trial: 1. Keep it simple: Remember that less is often more when creating demonstrative evidence. Keep your visuals clear and concise, focusing on all key points of your case. Avoid cluttering your presentation with unnecessary details that could confuse or distract the audience. See Litigator & Litigation Consultant Value Added: A "Simple" Final Product 2. Use a variety of formats: Consider using a mix of visual aids, physical objects, and multimedia presentations to keep your audience engaged. Different formats can help reinforce your message and cater to various learning styles. See 5 Ways to Apply Active Teaching Methods for Better Persuasion 3. Call Persuadius: Many organizations and publications have voted us the best demonstrative evidence provider in the country. Contact us at 800.847.9330 or contact@persuadius.com. See also Why Work with Persuadius?

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If you’ve been following our blog for a while, you may have let some amazing posts slip under your radar. With over 12 years of blog posts and an impressive 850 entries, it’s easy to miss a few hidden gems. That’s why we’ve compiled this curated list of captivating blog posts that deserve recognition.

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80% of jury trials are won or lost in the opening statement. 80%!!!!!! If you lose to your opponent in opening statements, your chances of winning the case become very slim. Over the past 25 years, I have participated in the drafting of hundreds of opening statements. Sometimes, it's 20% me (and others) and 80% first chair trial counsel; sometimes, it's the other way around. No matter what, it is always a collaborative process. And it's one of the things I enjoy most about my job. Reflecting on these 25 years, I offer twenty-one tips for writing and presenting a winning opening: Simplify, simplify, simplify. The opening statement can’t be too simple. Many people say ninth grade is your audience, but I would suggest sixth grade. Since those of us in the legal industry tend to hang around smart people all the time, writing or speaking at that level is hard. The only way to do it, unless you happen to have a very patient sixth grader on hand, is through practice in front of a trial consultant. See Litigator & Litigation Consultant Value Added: A "Simple" Final Product Tell a story. We have many storytelling resources, specifically Storytelling for Litigators and The Opening Statement Tool Kit. My colleagues and I have spent years putting these FREE guidebooks together, and there's nothing else like them. See also 5 Ways to Maximize Persuasion During Opening Statements - Part 2 I am often asked how long my opening statement should be. I think your opening statement should be less than 45 minutes. Nothing is magical about that number, but I feel it's about as long as people want to pay attention to something. It's no accident that many shows and college classes are offered in 50-minute segments. When was the last time you didn't fidget with your phone during a full-length movie? Sidebar: I feel like there should be a list of movies that are easy to watch while playing on your phone.

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During his lifetime, I often reached out to Steve Jobs, the ex-CEO and co-founder of Apple, seeking business insights. While he never replied, I always sensed a shared perspective. I am confident that his guidance would have always emphasized the importance of prioritizing quality to attract the ideal clientele. This principle held true during the inception of Animators at Law, which later evolved into A2L Consulting and now continues as Persuadius. My deep-rooted admiration for Apple dates back to before the groundbreaking launch of the Mac in 1984. Through thick and thin, my unwavering love for Macs and the company has been a constant. I attribute a significant portion of my success to the Mac, as its accessibility to graphics empowered me to delve into courtroom animation while in law school in the early 1990s. This initial spark later blossomed into establishing a trial graphics firm, which then transitioned into a jury consulting enterprise, a trial technology firm and ultimately a litigation consulting powerhouse.

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As a trial lawyer or someone working close to one, you may already be familiar with trial technicians and hotseaters. These professionals provide essential technical support during trials, ensuring everything runs smoothly. They usually sit adjacent to counsel's table and run your trial presentation, including the displays of exhibits and demonstrative evidence. However, you may not know that trial technicians and hotseaters possess a host of hidden skills that go beyond their technical capabilities. Here are some of the hidden skills of trial technicians and hot seaters that you never knew about: 1. They Dress Appropriately If you are in court, you should dress like you are in court. To me, a lifelong Virginia/DC resident, this means white, blue, or cream shirts, a dark suit, and a conservative tie. Black shirts, light-colored suits, and loosely knotted or holiday-themed ties are a no-go at Persuadius. But each trial team has its own style. It is essential to blend in with your trial team. Good trial techs and hotseaters know this intuitively. They want to avoid making a fashion statement in a courtroom or standing out. They want to blend into the background. 2. Some Trial Technicians Are Designers, But It's Rare A rare breed of trial technicians or hot-seaters can also create (sophisticated) demonstrative evidence, usually in PowerPoint. These multifaceted individuals typically start as designers and become trial technicians/hot seaters. This is a beneficial talent. They typically cost more per hour because of these individuals' rarity. Still, they allow the trial team to create exhibits mid-trial instead of simply showing documents and doing live callouts.

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I often talk about what not to do, but sometimes, I must remember to mention what you should do to achieve success at trial. In honor of leap year 2024, I have written this article offering 29 tips for successful trial preparation and execution. You can use this list as a checklist to compare yourself to your peers. I did not develop these ideas alone. Instead, they come from my experience working with the best of you over the past 30 years. 1. Conduct a mock trial. The very best litigators always conduct a mock trial when at least $10 million is at stake. Mock trials are a critical part of the Persuadius service offerings. If you want to discuss one, I invite you to email me (ken@persuadius.com) or call me (1-800-847-9330) or, ideally, fill out a client conflict check form by clicking the purple button in the upper right corner of this page. Only three people, including me, see those. 2. Conduct more than one mock trial. The ideal number is three, and that's precisely what I have observed the best trial lawyers do. It's not always affordable, but more than one mock is mandatory for cases with $25 million or more at stake. The only thing that varies is the investment in each mock trial. If $100 million or more is at stake, every mock should have every investment possible (i.e., a proper mock facility, a two-day or three-day mock, live witnesses, opening and closing statements, etc.). 3. Collaborate with litigation consultants who bring experience and insights to trial preparation. With a track record of handling hundreds of trials, we have witnessed exceptional and lackluster attorney performances. We aim to share valuable knowledge and advice, not lecture or boast about expertise. Drawing on the collective wisdom of countless cases, we strive to support you in crafting a solid and effective trial strategy. Litigation consultants can be exceptionally helpful when developing your opening statement. 4. Build a solid opening statement. In 30 years, I haven't seen anything to convince me that the opening statement is not the most essential part of the case. Some studies say that 80% of jurors make a decision about who will win after hearing opening statements. When done correctly, it should take months to develop an opening. It should be tested many times in whatever way your client can afford. We've written extensively about this. This topic is wonderfully covered in our opening statement toolkit ebook. See The Opening Statement Toolkit.

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I have the privilege of working with some of the most skilled trial lawyers in the country. They are an impressive group, possessing extensive knowledge of the law, unwavering work ethic, and expertise in the courtroom. In addition, they have an intangible charisma that allows them to command a room the moment they enter. Great trial lawyers can establish a magnetic rapport with judges and jurors that is awe-inspiring and hard to explain. As a trial consultant, we should observe this connection and let it propel us to victory. Because of this natural charisma, many top trial lawyers worry that when they use PowerPoint slides to supplement their opening statements, judges and jurors may lose the personal connection they have worked their whole lives to learn. They point out, or I observe, that judges' and jurors' attention is often still fixed on the screen, even if they want to move on to the point not included in the slides. Should the jurors continue focusing on the screen or shift their attention to the lawyer? I know what we want them to do, and all too often, they do the opposite. This is no trivial concern. There is something called the split attention effect, where audiences need help figuring out where to look and end up not remembering anything. There's also a closely related redundancy effect describing when lawyers show and read text. Again, the audiences remember less than they would have had you shown or read the text. You are not alone if you do this. I counsel on this topic very often.

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Trial Graphics and PowerPoint

PROS: PowerPoint is a versatile tool that many lawyers use for creating trial graphics. It can be used to create visual aids that can help present arguments in a clear and concise way. While there are many tools available for creating trial graphics, PowerPoint is a popular choice due to its ease of use, flexibility, and accessibility. Using PowerPoint for trial graphics can help simplify complex concepts and make arguments more compelling. For instance, you can use PowerPoint to create timelines, charts, graphs, and other visuals that can help illustrate key points. This is particularly important in cases where multiple parties, complex facts, or technical details need to be presented to the jury.

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As a trial lawyer, your main goal is to persuade the judge or jury that your client’s side of the story is the most compelling one. One of the most effective ways to do this is through trial graphics. These visual aids can help you convey complex information in a way that is easy to understand and memorable. In this article, we’ll explore the science of storytelling and how trial graphics can help you tell a compelling narrative. The Power of Storytelling Humans have been telling stories for thousands of years. From cave paintings to novels, stories have always played an essential role in our lives. But why do we love stories so much? The answer lies in our brain. Research has shown that when we hear a story, our brain releases dopamine, a chemical associated with pleasure and reward. This makes us feel good and helps us remember the information better. In addition to making us feel good, stories also help us make sense of the world around us. They provide a framework for understanding complex information and help us remember important details. This is why stories are such a powerful tool in the courtroom.

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Our blog has been thriving for nearly a decade, accumulating over a million visits during this remarkable period. As we approach the official 10-year blog anniversary next year, we also celebrate the impressive 28-year milestone of our entire company. To stay in tune with our readers' preferences, we meticulously monitor the traffic of each blog post, enabling us to identify the crème de la crème. Without further ado, here are the top 100 most engaging blog posts from the past ten extraordinary years. 5 Questions to Ask in Voir Dire The Top 14 Testimony Tips for Litigators and Expert Witnesses Ways to Identify the Jury Foreman: Insights on Leadership and Influence Lists of Analogies, Metaphors and Idioms for Lawyers 14 Tips for Delivering a Great Board Meeting Presentation 15 Tips for Great Customer Service from the Restaurant Industry

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I love what we can do with data at A2L, particularly when we couple well-chosen words with well-designed litigation graphics. I think this area of our litigation consulting work is one place we add tremendous value. We can overplay a threat, or we can make something seem harmless. The latter is MUCH harder to do. Today, I'll focus on how one can use language and data to either inflame or calm your audience selectively. Why would you want to do this? Frankly, it's one thing trial lawyers and trial consultants do every day. Litigants on both sides of a case work with highly creative people who find ways to message the truth in a way that favors the client. Virtually every type of case benefits from this kind of statistical messaging. Fear is the best lever we have to motivate decision-making. We've written about this sort of thing before in articles like: 6 Ways to Convey Size and Scale to a Jury 5 Demonstrative Evidence Tricks and Cheats to Watch Out For What Trial Lawyers Can Learn From Russian Facebook Ads Trial Presentation Graphics: Questioning Climate Change in Litigation Using Trial Graphics & Statistics to Win or Defend Your Case Numbers in Litigation Graphics Do Not Lie, People Do The coronavirus is no joke, and I don't intend to be lighthearted or flippant about it. But, most of us are talking about every day now, right? And, the cacophony of those discussions will only get louder over the next month. It's an accessible and relevant example to use to make a point, and this article might even give you a talking point or two. As you read this article, remember, the point of this post is to point out how easy it is to use (arguably) accurate data to influence decision-making, not to use false data to make your point. Anyone can do that. So, should you be scared of the coronavirus? Presented below are two sets of five talking points, and all of them are true. As you read through them all, ask yourself, which side won out? Fear or peace. 5 Reasons to Be Terrified of the Coronavirus It's everywhere, and there is no cure. COVID-19 is probably very widespread already, and more frighteningly, we just don't know how widespread. We've all heard that testing in the U.S. was flubbed very badly. Source. So, given that we've only seen 135 cases in the United States, why might we worry that it is everywhere? Well, the old lily pad adage explains why worrying about the spread is well-founded. If you know a pond will be fully covered by lily pads after 48 days, and that lily pads will double in coverage every day (as the coronavirus does), how many days will it take before the pond is half covered? Our readers are some of the smartest, most educated people in the world, so I bet you figured that one out. It's day, forty-seven. But, the point of this example is the troubling follow-up question: at what point would you really notice the lily pad coverage? The answer is somewhat scarily, maybe, day forty-three, forty-four, or day forty-five when coverage is around 5-10%. So, we only may be at day five or so in this metaphor, which is why we don't really notice the virus close to us yet. The incubation time before symptoms show up may be weeks, and many never show symptoms. Maybe we will understand how widespread it is once actual testing starts in a week. One expert believes there may already be 100,000 cases in the U.S. Source. Brain damage. Announced yesterday, it can cause brain damage. Source.

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A very close friend just asked me what we do at A2L Consulting. Last week, a 30-year colleague and client remarked that he didn’t realize that half of our business involved jury consulting. Last night, a high-profile trial lawyer kindly complimented our firm while speaking to a group -- but called the company by its former name of 10 years ago. It’s my job to explain to people who we are and what we do, and some of the people closest to me don’t understand what we do as litigation consultants at A2L Consulting. Clearly, I am doing something wrong. The purpose of this article is to provide a detailed overview of the work we do as litigation consultants. Still, it will also educate anyone involved in trying cases about best practices in specific areas of trial preparation and trial practice. The Big Picture Our firm was one of the first (if not the very first) to call itself a Litigation Consulting firm back in the mid-1990s. At a 30,000 foot level, litigation consultants like A2L are hired by top trial lawyers and large corporate legal departments to help increase the odds of winning a particular case. We help increase the odds of winning a particular case by: testing and refining cases during a mock trial and jury consulting process by soliciting and measuring feedback from mock jurors and mock judges; helping to refine the narrative and key arguments to be delivered at trial through our peer-to-peer litigation consulting process. This litigation consulting process often includes multiple rounds of practice, particularly of the opening statement; designing litigation graphics presentations rooted in persuasion psychology that help judges and jurors both understand our cases and help to persuade those same fact-finders to take our side in the case; and using highly trained hot-seat operators (trial technicians) to display electronic evidence on the fly and leave the trial attorney in a position to connect with judge and jury; I call these four areas, jury consulting, litigation consulting, litigation graphics consulting, and trial technology consulting. Collectively, I call them all litigation consulting. Within each category, there are MANY sub-services. Below is an overview with linked articles that explain each of these four areas in more detail and offer best practices. If you are in the business of trying cases, there is a lot of value here for you in the materials below.

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Sometimes I fear that my tips for trial lawyers might be perceived as self-serving. They're not, I promise, but I understand how someone could think that. Well, for at least for the duration of this article, don't take my word for it, please. Every day, we work with some of the world's best trial lawyers. I learn a lot from watching how the very best prepare for trial, and it is a pleasure to share what I witness with other great trial lawyers. Today, I'm presenting a collection of videos (some are from A2L clients, and some are not), trial presentation examples, sample litigation graphics, and other instances where trial lawyers and other great presenters lead by example. In this article, I'm not just asking you to accept what I say. I am asking you to watch your peers show or tell how to best persuade judges, jurors, and people in general. Here are twelve tips (really, there are hundreds of best practices embedded in here) from some of the world's best trial lawyers and presenters: Persuasive Storytelling Matters! Watch three accomplished trial lawyers explain why: https://www.a2lc.com/blog/three-top-trial-lawyers-tell-us-why-storytelling-at-trial-is-so-important Litigation Graphics should not be created by trial counsel - ever. These examples show why: https://www.a2lc.com/blog/excellent-litigation-graphics-in-the-impeachment-trial Litigation Graphics - It's no longer about reading bullet points. Jurors simply expect more!: https://www.a2lc.com/blog/still-think-persuasion-is-about-talking-while-showing-bullet-points-and-not-litigation-graphics Love him, hate him, respect him, disrespect him - whatever - this politician presents better than most trial lawyers (the linked articles are a trial lawyer presentation goldmine!): https://www.a2lc.com/blog/netanyahu-persuades-and-presents-better-than-most-trial-lawyers

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