ABA Journal


ABA Journal Podcast

On Stage: How to Use Theater Techniques to Reach Juries

Aug 6, 2012, 01:30 pm CDT


Thanks for posting this. Appreciated it. David and Josh are top flight. Robert Ryan

By Robert C. Ryan on 2012 08 10, 9:45 pm CDT

This is clearly what is WRONG with the law these days. The law and the facts take second bench to dramatic arts, personalities, marketing, and "charisma". As an example, it is frequently noted that certain "trial attorneys" can get juries to "eat out of their hands" or that they can "sway" the jury. How is this consistent with justice? Should the facts and law not rule in EVERY case? We need to have FEWER civil jury trials. Instead, as an example, much of the medical/personal injury ambulance chasing (yes that is what it is) would no longer be relevant if we had a single payer healthcare system and a manner of assessing damages objectively, fairly and uniformly without consideration to fault, "common law" liablity and availability of insurance. Why should one litigant receive far more in damages than another based simply on the amount of insurance available or the size of the defendant "target"? Should one person run down in a crosswalk by an uninsured motorist receive less in damages for his injuries than another who is hit by a Walmart truck? Why should attorneys receive one third to 40% (or more) of an injured person's damages for HIS or HER injuries? Taking medical bills out of the equation with a single payer system is a first step. The second would be establishing a fair compensation system billed at the gas pump covering all motorists. Then maybe we would see less of "Morgan for the people" advertising. As for the dramatic arts, I studied and practiced law. It was the facts and the law that always mattered to me and most of the Judges before whom I practiced. As for jury trials, they should be retained for criminal trials but definitely curtailed in the civil arena, particularly in matters involving expert testimony or scientific analysis.

By citizen1 on 2012 08 12, 12:43 pm CDT

I don't know what world you're living in, but "law and the facts" never play first string. Jury nullification is alive and well.

By law2b on 2012 08 13, 2:26 pm CDT

Whoa # 2 (citizen1), speaking of a bit dramatic. If you have a better system you had better lay it out more comphrehensively than that or come up with the greatest software program of all time to be able to dole out this justice you speak of. Yes, after 250 years of American jurisprudence you would think that there is so much on the books that every accident, every injury, every contract dispute had already been litigated and that both liability determination and damages could be predicted and thus, no need for a trial ever again. The reason that has not happened are 1) facts/case by case basis and 2) time/inflation. We need juries of our peers to tell us what a broken leg is worth in a given year. Did the pedestrian struck in your hypothetical suffer the same injury in each case? Is every accident the same to you? What about the tort system's impact on product improvement ? It seems the law your practiced must have been something other than PI because without particular lawsuits over the past 50 years, many of the things you take for granted in quality and safety may not exist. A single payer system has never made victims whole. Has Workers Compensation made people whole? Has any such system ever worked out ? The problem with people like you is you took a simple lecture on connecting with juries and blew it up into something it was not.

By EJF on 2012 08 13, 2:49 pm CDT

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