Coaching Attorneys

Molly M. Murphy, MDR Mediator and Jury Consultant

Getting In Shape

There  are many reasons why an attorney would look for coaching that focuses on honing their style, technique, and performance. Skills and approaches can be taught. Greatness comes from studying, preparation, and practice. The delivery of a message will determine how effective and impressionable the evidence will influence the jury.

Being an Advocate deals with structure and strategy and utilizes emotions. The tone, color of the details, and the depth of the nuances all build the story of the case. The great storytellers use their cadence, demeanor, and non-verbal mannerisms to guide the jury through the evidence.

The believability factor plays an important role for the jury. The strength of the case is often based on the integrity and trustworthiness of the lawyer. The words one chooses, the phrasing, the tone of voice and the attitude during the delivery of an opening statement, direct and cross examination, objections, closing arguments will affect and influence the juror’s belief in your case.

Strategic planning of a case is designed to entice, engage, and captivate the jury, Judge, arbitrator or the mediator. We use  rhythm and energy strategically to present the evidence in a manner that resonates and connects with the jury.

Presentations, direct and cross examinations  are planned, practiced and well thought out. It is vital that one pays attention to how the jury and the Judge are responding and reacting to your presentation and examinations. Often, what may have seemed important during preparation of the case holds less value for the jurors. Observing and listening are important skills to have as a successful trial lawyer. Preparation, Preparation, Preparation will give you the flexibility to adjust your approach to delivering the evidence and to measure the weight of the evidence the jury seems to deem important.

A great tool to “Get In Shape” is video tapping practice sessions.  Our means of communicating to others is through our voice, nonverbals, facial expressions, phrasing and emotions. How we are perceived during interactions affects the quality of the communication and our credibility.

There are three techniques for effectively using the videotaped sessions. First, watch the video tapped session segment completely by observing body language, mannerisms, listening to sound and tone of your voice, the phrasing of your words and emotions. Then watch the video without sound. Notice your body language, facial expressions, eye contact and demeanor. Third time listen only  to the sound without watching the video. Listen to your tone, cadence, phrasing, energy, attitude and message. These techniques establish that we communicate not only with words, but with body language, facial expressions, attitudes, judgments, biases, and emotions. Practicing these communication skills will lead to Mastering your trial advocacy approach, presentation, style, technique, and performance.