August 27, 2015 Articles

Transforming a Skillfully Crafted Brief into an Effective Oral Argument

By Nancy J. Geenen

Some successful trial lawyers are born with storytelling skills that are compelling and persuasive, but most are made through years of practice, using tools and resources that increase the odds of winning at trial. A mock trial, backed by solid social science and the experience of jury consultants who understand group dynamics and behavior, is one of those important tools to prepare for trial.

What Is a Mock Trial?
A mock trial is an adversarial, evidentiary presentation of the dispute to a large group of people representative of the jury pool to whom the case will be tried. Just as if both sides of the dispute were represented, mock-trial presentations include a combination opening statement and closing argument; key documents, timelines, tutorials, and thematic graphics; and key witness testimony. The mock jurors are surveyed for their individual reactions to the presentations. Afterward, they receive jury instructions and retire to deliberate with those instructions and a verdict form. Clients, attorneys, and consultants view the group deliberations through two-way mirrors or closed-circuit monitors. The entire exercise is recorded digitally.

Premium Content For:
  • Litigation Section
Join - Now