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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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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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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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Discover why using bullet points in PowerPoint presentations can hinder your ability to persuade and learn powerful tips to enhance your presentations. The Problem with Bullet Points: How They Kill Persuasion Bullet points have long been a staple of PowerPoint presentations. However, their overuse can actually hurt your ability to persuade and engage your judge/jury. Bullet points are often used as a crutch, allowing presenters to simply read off the slide instead of creating a compelling narrative. This can lead to a lack of connection with the judge and jury and a diminished impact of your message. Additionally, bullet points can make your presentation feel cluttered and overwhelming, making it difficult for your judge & jury to focus on key points. We have written extensively about this in articles such as, Still Think Persuasion is About Talking While Showing Bullet Points? and 12 Reasons Bullet Points Are Bad (in Trial Graphics or Anywhere) and Why Reading Your Litigation PowerPoint Slides Hurts Jurors and The Redundancy Effect, PowerPoint and Legal Graphics. They are wonderful resources all by themselves. To overcome the problem with bullet points, consider alternative ways to present information. Instead of listing out your main points in bullet form, try using visuals, storytelling techniques, effective data visualization, and memorable quotes and anecdotes to drive your message. Above all else, never read your slide aloud

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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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Understanding the Role of a Litigation Consultant A litigation consultant plays a crucial role in the legal process, providing expert advice and guidance to attorneys and their clients. They bring a unique set of skills and knowledge to the table, helping to navigate complex legal matters and improve the overall effectiveness of your case.

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As an expert in this field, I have written extensively about the power and potential of trial graphics. It is reassuring to know that the New York Times also recognizes the capabilities of compelling graphics, even though their application may differ from the courtroom trial graphics setting.

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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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Summary (TL;DR) Three years ago, A2L Consulting was #1 in all categories, but we were especially known for our trial graphics and jury consulting. We took a three-year break, and now the team is back under a new moniker, Persuadius. We are hard at work with clients as we speak. The backstory is long and eventful but compelling. Read it below, and I would love to hear from you at ken@persuadius.com, especially if you need persuasive litigation graphics or jury consulting. Persuadium is the new essential element of persuasion. So, what happened? March 5, 2020, 9 pm, pre-lockdown. I am alone at home. I was prepping for a morning meeting related to some enormous litigation. My personal life was, unfortunately, overflowing with drama. For me, however, it was just another typically stressful day. I was proud of an article I had published that morning, 5 Reasons to Be Terrified of the Coronavirus (and 5 Reasons Not to Be). In retrospect, it is quite prescient. I'm still proud of it, if you can't tell. To celebrate the end of my day, I poured myself a glass of red wine, which I had certainly earned. Then, out of nowhere, I couldn't understand the content of my phone screen. I assumed incorrectly that perhaps I just needed to lie down. Maybe I was overstressed. Wrong. I was having a cerebral hemorrhage.

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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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I recently read two studies by Professor Jeffrey Loewenstein of the University of Illinois that offer extremely valuable persuasion tools for trial lawyers. They were not written with trial lawyers in mind, but the lessons they teach are universal when it comes to persuasion. Together they provide an important toolset for those of us who craft or hone opening statements for a living. The first of these studies, The Repetition-Break Plot Structure Makes Effective Television Advertisements [paywall], helps answer the question of why some advertising campaigns outperform others. It turns out there exists an ages-old and highly persuasive storytelling structure often seen in folktales around the world. Advertisers who use it tend to win more awards, generate more purchases, and see their advertisements shared virally -- much like a folktale. It is my experience that techniques that sell products sell arguments just as well. We've written about this before in articles like Could Surprise Be One of Your Best Visual Persuasion Tools? and Repeat a Simple Message Repeatedly to Maximize Courtroom Persuasion. It is exactly these types of inherently persuasive language tools that arouse core human instincts that we must deploy in the courtroom for our clients benefit. After all, if we can give our jurors an easily memorable story, we give them a potent weapon to argue in favor of our position with other jurors.

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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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Finally. High-quality litigation graphics made an appearance at the impeachment trial. If you are a trial lawyer or you help trial lawyers, this article is a must-read, because it will help you see the future and help you persuade better. I've published three recent articles about the impeachment hearings/trial and the litigation graphics and technology used: 5 Litigation Graphics Lessons from the Impeachment Hearings Who Won the Impeachment Trial Initial Opening Statements? Impeachment Hearings Provide Trial Technology Lessons I thought those three articles would be my last on the subject, and then something impressive happened. Objectively effective litigation graphics were (finally) used on Day 6, and they offer a look into the future for all trial lawyers. The first five days of the impeachment trial left me feeling sad for those rare few of us who are experts in the art and science of litigation graphics. For the most part, the PowerPoints used were better than nothing but fell far short of maximizing persuasion (based on current persuasion science). They looked like what lawyers can create on their own, what you see at most trials, and what you see in most corporate conference rooms. They were ugly and flawed. Again, though, they were better than nothing. When defense counsel presented opening statements on Day 1 of the trial and used no visuals, I was confused. I know the background of some of these lawyers and have worked with some of them. I know they know better. It was disheartening. And then came the opening defense arguments on Day 6, and finally, excellent litigation graphics made an appearance. As I've said before, none of my articles are political in any way. I am only commenting on the quality of the litigation graphics presentations and technology used. I'm leaving the content entirely alone. Nevertheless, I know it's hard to separate the litigation graphics from the messenger if you feel strongly about one side or the other. But, if you are a trial lawyer, you really should be able to separate the two. The litigation graphics used on Day 6 were very good - both from a persuasion science standpoint and from an artistic standpoint. I appreciate the sophistication of them as they now can help me explain what good PowerPoint looks like (without getting into our presentations which are often sensitive or confidential). Let's discuss five key points and briefly discuss what you can learn from them. 1. These litigation graphics were more like a news graphic than a trial graphic. The national news industry is years ahead of most of the legal industry in creating memorable and persuasive graphics. I've written about this in articles like 10 Things Litigators Can Learn From Newscasters and Watch The Weather Channel Use Animation to Persuade.

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The Top 100 Litigation Articles

Today, we are celebrating you - our subscribers - because we have reached a new milestone - 10,000 subscribers to this blog! To celebrate, we are releasing the list below for the very first time - A2L Consulting's Top 100 Articles of All Time. We started this publication in 2011 against my best instincts, and I delight daily in how wrong I was. Now, almost 700 articles later, being named a top blog by the ABA, and after millions of visits to our site and The Litigation Consulting Report blog (free subscription here), I now understand that we filled a significant void. It turns out that those seeking to persuade, inside the courtroom or elsewhere, really did not have an excellent place to go and learn about persuasion science. They certainly don't teach storytelling for persuasion in law school, and the intricacies of demonstrative evidence/visual aids are too much for any one lawyer to master (while trying cases). So, I'm proud that so many have enjoyed these articles about storytelling, voir dire, jury consulting, litigation graphics, trial technology, persuasion, and much much more. These articles are ranked by the number of visits to the article. Some have been read hundreds of thousands of times. I hope you will keep reading our old and new articles, and feel free to share a free subscription with a friend. A2L Consulting's Top 100 Articles of All Time 5 Questions to Ask in Voir Dire . . . Always The Top 14 Testimony Tips for Litigators and Expert Witnesses 10 Ways to Spot Your Jury Foreman 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 The 50 Best Twitter Accounts to Follow for Lawyers and Litigators The Top 10 TED Talks for Lawyers, Litigators and Litigation Support The Top 5 Qualities of a Good Lawyer 10 Things Every Mock Jury Ever Has Said 12 Reasons Bullet Points Are Bad (in Trial Graphics or Anywhere) 15 Fascinating Legal and Litigation Infographics 4 Ways That Juries Award Damages in Civil Cases 16 PowerPoint Litigation Graphics You Won't Believe Are PowerPoint

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