So I admit it, I was wrong. I do want my life changed and this is just the place to do it. After only a week of recharging my batteries at Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyers College, I have a new respect for psycho dramatic techniques and for development of the story. Both have played prominent roles these past days. Psycho drama is a means of re-living the story that brought the client to you. It literally involves a re-enactment of the events. The process has great application in criminal cases because there are clear, defined scenes that can be explored with clients and witnesses. Multiple "views" of the events can be examined from their different perspectives. I have used this process before in both civil and criminal cases, and frequently have used it with a focus group before trial. TLC’s incredible staff is adding new tools for me to use as I get ready for trial.
Every case is really just a story – and every story is just a series of scenes. But in what order should the story be told? Who should tell the story and how? What scenes should the jury "see?" And how do we get the jurors in our cases to help our clients? We have been exploring all of this and more. Years ago I started using story and theme to build the case, from voir dire to closing. "Just tell your story!" Spence is prone to yell. And he is right. We are "story people." Our histories as humans have been told in story form. When great teachers through history have wanted to make a special point they have always relied upon story to engage and hold their audience. So this is not new for me – but working on story development and building on themes developed in psycho dramas will certainly become more focussed after TLC.
Last night I heard Paul Luvera use the term "Reptilian Brain" as he spoke about how he recently won a $40 million verdict for a worthy client in Everette. The term is one I read recently in John Medina’s book, Brain Rules. To get a sense about how we think and the role our three (that’s right – 3) brains play in our own personal survival, check out his website and buy his book at www.brainrulesbook.com. The book is fascinating reading, and it will really get you thinking. Luvera has keyed into something that is critical to understanding jurors here – and we need to understand how jurors think as we build our story and develop our case. Tapping into it the Reptilian brain can mean the difference between winning and losing at trial. Because this stuff has such power, I do not plan to share now, but call me in August or join in the discussion then, after I get back to Boise from TLC.
Time to get back to work – we have the day off and I am in Jackson Hole with some classmates. I cannot wait to put this stuff to work and win your case!