The main goal of a trial attorney is to persuade the jury or, in a bench trial, the judge. To achieve this, lawyers need more than logical arguments. Persuasion is more than convincing. This strategy uses both emotion and appeal to reason. Persuasion includes getting the audience on your side by maximizing your strong points and minimizing your weaknesses.
Trial persuasion techniques and styles will depend on who the lawyer is presenting the case to. In front of the judge, trial lawyers may refrain from using emotion as a tactic. The persuasion is done using effective legal analysis. Persuasion is different in front of a jury. Jurors are typically unfamiliar with legal terms and concepts, and lawyers may use this to their advantage. The use of appropriate emotions is important so that the jurors can empathize, understanding the case and the client.
Although there may be differences in the persuasion style depending on the audience, the basis of persuasion is the same in front of a judge or a jury. Lawyers must gain the attention of their audience, maintain their interest and make it impossible for them not to understand their arguments. Also remaining the same, is the goal, to win.
The science of persuasion
- Opening statement
Giving a strong opening statement is a crucial part of the lawyer's presentation. This should be the strongest part that can be remembered easily. The jurors will be the most attentive in the beginning of the trial, so lawyers want to make it count.
Having a theme is an essential part of trial persuasion. Trial lawyers may utilize themes to summarize what the case is about. Jurors can become lost as they sort through complicated information, so providing a theme can project a memorable image about the case.
Every client makes an important decision when taking a case to trial. This should not be taken lightly. When working with an attorney, you may consider their ability to analyze and prepare your case.