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32 of lawyers’ most common fears

Does your law practice make you fearful? You are not alone, according to John Lande, an emeritus professor of law at the University of Missouri. Some of lawyers’ most common fears include: Featured imageconflicto-de-intereses4-250x306

• Feeling that their offices or cases are out of control.

• Changing familiar procedures.

• Looking foolish by asking certain questions.

• Candidly expressing their thoughts and feelings.

• Giving clients “bad news.”

• Being intimidated by superiors in their firm.

• Asking for favors from their counterparts in a case or being asked for favors by their counterparts.

• Seeming “too nice.”

• Being blamed.

• Speaking in public.

• Lacking skill and confidence due to limited trial experience.

• Clients giving false testimony.

• Failing to locate “the smoking gun.”

• Harming their clients’ interests.

• Being attacked or outsmarted by counterparts.

• Being judged unfairly by potential or actual jurors.

• Being intimidated by judges.

• Suffering reprisals from judicial disqualification motions or reporting judicial misconduct.

• Suffering “the pain, humiliation and shame of defeat.”

NEGOTIATION NERVES

It’s not just litigation that can induce fear; negotiation does too. According to John Lande’s research, these are some of lawyers’ top fears about negotiation:

• Insecurity about their negotiation skills or preparation.

• Asking questions.

• Being questioned aggressively by their counterparts.

• Looking foolish.

• Silence.

• Appearing weak.

• Being dominated or exploited by their counterparts.

• Disclosing information that may harm their clients’ position.

• Making tactical errors.

• Incorrectly valuing cases.

• Failing to anticipate possible problems.

• Failing to reach an agreement.

• Not getting a good enough result for clients.

Related article:

ABA Journal: “How lawyers can turn fear into an ally”

via abajournal.com

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Follow Up Etiquette RE: Biz Issues

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Related: Ryan H. Flax, Esq.
Managing Director, Litigation Consulting & General Counsel

Top 7 Things I’ve Observed as a Litigation Consultant:

I’ve passed another anniversary at A2L Consulting and in my time as a litigation consultant I’ve been both surprised and reassured about the state of the litigation business and its players (I also wrote about my surprises upon beginning my career as a litigation consultant). I’ve seen both the very best and quite bad litigators in action and have consulted for both. Although some litigators don’t live up to my high standards, I’m impressed by many litigators as both professionals and people. Here are seven of my observations over these years that I think might help you in your practice.

  1. Many Lawyers Confuse Chronology With Storytelling

It is almost universally accepted that storytelling is important to engaging an audience (including a jury) and that framing a client’s case as a compelling story is key to doing your best at trial, particularly in opening statements. But more often than not, when I ask a litigation team what their client’s story is, rather than explain “why we’re really here” as they would to a jury and illustrate some conflict and emotionally valuable moral that is critical to juror engagement, they rattle off some chronological series of events that led to a legal injury to their client or some misconstrued relationship by the opposing party. These are not stories and presenting a case framed this way, while possibly interesting to a legal scholar, is not compelling to a juror.

I’m surprised that so many smart litigators fall into the chronology trap and forsake emotional connection to engage jurors. I don’t advise pandering to a jury or excessive emoting by a litigator, but for a jury to care about you and your client and generate the stamina jurors need for a trial, litigators must tap into their emotional brains. This is not done by an information dump, a calendar, or using a lot of words.

A story answers the question posed above – why are we here today, in this courtroom? A story also has all the stuff you learned in grade school: a beginning, middle, climax, and end, characters, setting, theme, and moral.

  1. Some Lawyers Focus Too Much on Too Small Things

It’s easy for litigators (even more so for the associates doing the day-to-day stuff) to over-focus on every detail. The prospect of overlooking a potentially key piece of evidence or being surprised by an unknown fact exposed by opposing counsel is frightening for attorneys (it was for me), so we often wind up thinking way too much about every little thing in a case. This is called being “in the weeds,” and when you’re there it’s exceedingly difficult to escape without help. It happens with the selection of evidence, with witness prep, and even with the development of graphics, where sometimes counsel wants to very carefully think over every aspect, e.g., choosing what font style and color palette and slide aspect ratio will best work for their case.

On each of these things, I urge counsel to take a step back and delegate where possible so they can focus on the BIG PICTURE. The best first-chair litigators do this naturally, and the rest of us need to do it deliberately. Attorney time and brainpower should be spent on figuring out what it will take to win. Let litigation graphics consultants decide what font works best for your opening statement presentation. It will be a relief when you do.

  1. Many Litigators Don’t Know What Tools Are Available

Even though the litigation consulting industry has been around for decades, I still find a lot of lawyers really don’t know what we do (in total) and what persuasive tools are at their immediate disposal. Often, my first conversations with new clients include questions like, “What all do you do?” The concepts of litigation graphics, presentation and persuasion consulting, trial technology, and jury consulting are not concrete ideas in many litigators’ minds, and I often have to educate clients on what we have in our (their) toolbox.

Most often, such attorneys think of litigation graphics as discrete images created for specific points they want to make during trial. They don’t understand that, while that’s a part of our work, such graphics won’t alone provide the immersive visual experience necessary (particularly during opening statements) to persuade jurors.

Also, many litigators seriously consider doing their own graphics and/or in-court technology presentation. They have Microsoft PowerPoint and Word and can cut and paste and they’ve heard that iPad apps make evidence presentation easy. The former is never a good idea and, while the later might be true for some situations, e.g., a hearing or very small trial, it’s not going to work in any bigger trial that could have hundreds or thousands of exhibits. There is a lot to know about crafting persuasive trial visuals and there are professionals who do nothing but build trial databases, edit deposition videos, and run trial presentation software to create a seamless trial for you and your jurors. Litigators should understand this and use professionals (and let your paralegals focus on what they should be doing as well).

  1. Litigators Still Wait Too Long to Bring in a Litigation Consultant

Even though they know better, most of the time litigation teams wait until just weeks before trial to engage a litigation consultant / jury consultant / graphics team / trial tech. Even though they know waiting makes it a more difficult budget-sell to their client, leads to an uncomfortable rush to develop graphics, may make mock jury exercises impossible, and forecloses the possibility of building discovery around what they learn from a consultant, they wait. I urge early planning for trial (at the complaint/answer stage), which is the right time to develop that important two-track litigation strategy, and begin working on your case story and graphics as early as possible. Although we can certainly help you late in the game, we can do a lot more before halftime.

  1. A Lot of Litigation Graphics are Subpar

When I get the chance, I always go to my client’s opening statements and then to as much of the rest of their trials as possible. So I get to see the litigation graphics developed by/for opposing counsel. I’m consistently underwhelmed.  It’s impossible to say whether these poor visuals directly led to the oppositions’ losses at trial, but they didn’t help.

More often than not I see a lot of text-heavy graphics – a severe barrier to juror engagement and communication. I see a severe lack of style, clarity, and intentional design – this screams lack of preparation and deliberateness in presentation. There are key visual presentation concepts that, if understood and followed, lead to persuasive graphics, e.g., font type, color choice, simplicity, complexity, branding, style, and others. There is no shortage of information about these concepts out there, but it seems most folks are not paying attention. We are.

  1. Lawyers Don’t Spend Money Where It Can Help Them

Litigation consulting, jury research, trial graphics, and trial technology cost your client money – very true. But the ROI on these services far outweighs their expense in bigger cases. The cost of a typical larger litigation, such as an employment case, hovers just around $1M. A typical bigger patent case costs about twice that amount. However, the services and tools that could be used to hone your persuasive game at any stage of such litigations turn out to be a very, very small fraction of these costs.

Take a big-time patent and breach of contract case where our client won over $300 million in damages. The costs for A2L’s services were well below $200,000, about 5% or less of the litigation budget and about 0.005% or less of the damages award. I know that our services played an important role in the victory, even though the trial team was beyond outstanding.

But, we still see litigation counsel struggling to decide whether $30,000 or $50,000 is the right spend for a mock jury focus group (a $20K difference that could be the difference between scientific data results and seat of the pants analysis) or whether to spend $12,000 to have a professional trial tech hot seat operator at trial (they should), or whether they can make their own graphics for opening statements in house (they cannot). In my view, saving a penny to lose a dollar makes no sense.

  1. Practice is as Important as Everyone Thinks

Finally, it’s been shown time and time again that practicing oral argument makes sense. The more you practice, the better you’ll do. It takes time, but again, the ROI on this time investment is tremendous. When litigators do several full speed run-throughs for opening statements or oral arguments, I see them do a fantastic job at the real thing. They don’t need notes, they know their subject matter, they are and appear more comfortable, they seem more reasonable, and they use their graphics perfectly in a compelling way.  Not practicing so that you can feel and seem more spontaneous at opening is a recipe for a poor performance. Practice. And start early.

Other articles and resources about litigation consulting and trial preparation from A2L Consulting:

Trigger finger a common condition

TRIGGER FINGER-VO It may sound like it’s caused from shooting a gun, but that’s not what normally causes trigger finger. The condition, when one finger is bent over and gets stuck, is caused when the tendon in the finger gets caught in one of the sheaths in the finger that surrounds it. For some people, the finger will snap back into place, but in some cases, surgery is required to get the finger back to normal.Bible-Gun-1263002One local doctor says the condition is very common – something he sees every week. And if you think you have the condition, consult your family doctor first.“Sometimes we may think it’s from the finger and it’s arthritis or there could be some other thing that’s causing pain in the hand, there are some conditions that cause contractures in the hand,” Dr. Richard Rattay of Mason City Clinic and Mercy Medical Center North Iowa said.
Trigger finger can sometimes be treated by anti-inflammatory medication or a shot of cortisone into the tendon, but in severe cases, surgery is required.
“There are a lot of patients that they’ve kind of been worked up and we may try a cortizone shot and they actually get better and never need surgery but then there are other people who just don’t get better enough or they come in and their finger is already stuck and then those people are better off with surgery,” Rattay said.  triggerfinger  MASON CITY, Iowa –

Kraft recalls 2 million pounds of turkey bacon

The difference between survival action and wrongful death?

The days where a personal injury claim dies with the victim are long gone. Various states have passed laws that recognize both survival action and wrongful death claims. These two, although tied together in preserving the rights of the deceased, cover different forms of damages.

The major differences between these two are the key elements probed for the validation of the claim, damages covered if each claim has been proven, and the aspect of distribution of the said damages.

Key elements

In a wrongful death claim, breach of duty and causation are the burden of proof established throughout the case. The basis of damages to be covered by the claim is the act or lack of action of the entity at fault.

In survival action, the inquisition goes beyond the negligence of duty. Survival action takes into consideration the difficulty experienced by the victim between the accident and death.

Damages covered
Designed as reparation to the family or dependents of the victim, a wrongful death claim covers lost wages, medical expenses, and other financial issues that the death has brought to surviving relatives or dependents.

Meanwhile, survival action doesn’t merely focus on the aftermath of the death. It covers the probable damages that the victim would have been able to fight for if he or she had survived. Laws.com describes this as “the continuation of tort actions that the victim would have been entitled to raise in life.” In Washington, survival action also considers the expenses incurred by the victim while the person was struggling for life at the hospital, regardless of the duration of the stay.

Distribution of claims
In wrongful death cases, relatives (immediate or distant), and rightful dependents may receive the settlement in behalf of the victim.

However, in survival action claims, the victim’s estate will be the primary premise for distribution of damages. Only the heir or lawful dependent of the victim will be entitled to the damages recovered, as stipulated by the will of the victim.

Can representatives file for both? This depends on the statute governed by State law. Some states allow the filing of both claims and receiving the compensation for both. However, states like Virginia only allow the representative to recover either of the two.

Sheeley Law, LLC provides representation for the families or dependents of victims of wrongful death. To read more related topics on this legal matter, visit this blog.

Comments are closed. @annsheeley

Ann S Sheeley's Blog

The days where a personal injury claim dies with the victim are long gone. Various states have passed laws that recognize both survival action and wrongful death claims. These two, although tied together in preserving the rights of the deceased, cover different forms of damages.

The major differences between these two are the key elements probed for the validation of the claim, damages covered if each claim has been proven, and the aspect of distribution of the said damages.

Image Source: CosmosMagazine.com

Key elements

In a wrongful death claim, breach of duty and causation are the burden of proof established throughout the case. The basis of damages to be covered by the claim is the act or lack of action of the entity at fault.

In survival action, the inquisition goes beyond the negligence of duty. Survival action takes into consideration the difficulty experienced by the victim between the accident…

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TWO MORE WOMEN COME FORWARD IN BILL COSBY RAPE SCANDAL!!

D.A.T Vegasgyrl

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Just when you thought it was done, the accusations against Bill Cosby keep coming. Two additional women have accused the 77-year-old comedian of drugging them decades ago when they worked as young models.

Linda Brown and Lise-Lotte Lublin voiced their claims on Thursday at the office of attorney Gloria Allred in Los Angeles. It was made known that the allegations were brought forward too late for them to take any legal action against Cosby.

Brown said she met the star in 1969 in Canada and went to his hotel room where he allegedly gave her a soft drink that caused her to black out. She said when she woke up, she was naked in bed with him.

“I couldn’t move or speak. I felt paralyzed, he flipped me over and sexually assaulted me,” Brown claimed. “I felt like a rag doll and like a real-life blow-up doll for him.”

As…

View original post 108 more words