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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:

Kraft recalls 2 million pounds of turkey bacon

Limited License Legal Technicians

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In 2012, the Supreme Court of Washington state enacted a rule allowing non-lawyers to practice law in a limited capacity after specialized training.  According to a March 13, 2015 Washington Post article titled Who says you need a law degree to practice law?,twenty-nine of Washington’s colleges offer the requisite courses in civil procedure, legal research, contracts and family law.  Once the training is completed and they pass a licensing exam, the graduates apprentice with an attorney for 3,000 hours before they can practice on their own.

waCourtsLogo‘They’re highly trained in a specific field of law,’ says Steve Crossland, who chairs the LLLT [Limited License Legal Technician] board. ‘In some ways, it’s more intensive training than what a lawyer gets.’

Washington’s program provides legal services to poor and middle class people who cannot afford traditional legal services, people who would otherwise have to represent themselves – sometimes with dire consequences.

‘The consequences can be failure to understand or enforce an order that can prevent ongoing violence or protect the safety of kids. It can mean losing the right to continue to live in one’s home.’

*     *     *

‘We have people come in who relied on a friend who thought he knew how to fill out paperwork, . . . Then they’d go to court and get creamed. They’ll come to us, and we’ll look at their paperwork and it’s a disaster.’

Given the reduction in funds for legal aid, Washington’s LLLT program is filling a void for the legal services industry.  And, California, Oregon, Colorado and New Mexico are reportedly considering similar programs.

‘We need to take a leaf from the medical profession, which has long recognized that people with health problems can be helped by a range of assistance providers with far less training than licensed physicians,’ New York Court of Appeals Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman said in his 2014 state of the judiciary report. ‘We all accept that. Why not the same in the law?’

Why not indeed.

About The Legal Reformer

Center for Legal Practice Reform

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thelegalreformer

In 2012, the Supreme Court of Washington state enacted a rule allowing non-lawyers to practice law in a limited capacity after specialized training.  According to a March 13, 2015 Washington Post article titled Who says you need a law degree to practice law?, twenty-nine of Washington’s colleges offer the requisite courses in civil procedure, legal research, contracts and family law.  Once the training is completed and they pass a licensing exam, the graduates apprentice with an attorney for 3,000 hours before they can practice on their own.

waCourtsLogo‘They’re highly trained in a specific field of law,’ says Steve Crossland, who chairs the LLLT [Limited License Legal Technician] board. ‘In some ways, it’s more intensive training than what a lawyer gets.’

Washington’s program provides legal services to poor and middle class people who cannot afford traditional legal services, people who would otherwise have to represent themselves – sometimes with dire consequences.

View original post 184 more words

Amtrak train strikes vehicle in Oceanside – CBS News 8 – San Diego, CA

Amtrak train strikes vehicle in Oceanside – CBS News 8 – San Diego, CA News Station – KFMB Channel 8.  See more on Flickr:Featured image

A car and AMTRACK train collision at Cassidy Street in Oceanside has left at least one person injured, officials said.

The incident happened at approximately 8:12 a.m. Monday when Oceanside Police and Oceanside Fire both responded to a car and train collision near the train tracks.

Sheriff’s deputies on the scene said one woman was inside the car when she parked her car off to the side of the crossing. As the gates started to close, the woman then drove up onto the tracks and parked there, deputies said.

The train conductor saw the woman ahead of time, deputies said, but not soon enough to stop all the way before hitting the car. When they collided, the train was going about 30 to 40 miles per hour, deputies said. Oceanside Police are asking people to avoid using Cassidy Street near the train tracks while they investigate.

  • Passengers are boarding a BREEZE bus to take them to the Oceanside Transit Center. All COASTER stops are currently delayed out of San Diego.

An AMTRACK train out of San Diego has been delayed because of the incident.

More From NBC San 7 Diego

Source:http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/Car-and-Train-Collide-in-Oceanside-296451831.html#ixzz3UagySjpV
Follow us: @nbcsandiego on Twitter | NBCSanDiego on Facebook

via Amtrak train strikes vehicle in Oceanside – CBS News 8 – San Diego, CA News Station – KFMB Channel 8.

Bruce Jenner Not At Fault in Fatal Car Accident


An investigation is now underway into the chain reaction crash on PCH that left a woman dead.

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