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Trial Strategy

Choosing a jury in DUI cases

Alcoholism, social drinking, and drunk driving may be very different animals but in the public mind, the lines between them are blurred, experts tell Lawyers USA. And the results of this "media blitz" are felt in jury selection. People who used to freely say they had a couple of beers at a bar before getting behind the wheel are increasingly reluctant to admit to driving after drinking anything at all. This social disapproval of drinking and driving means that DUI cases, a "crime of degree" that affects more adults in America than any other, are increasingly tough for defense attorneys to win.

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‘Mini Closings’ catching on as new trial technique

Lawyers and judges across the country are experimenting with a new trial technique known as “mini closings,” or “interim summaries,” in which the lawyers are allowed to address the jury periodically throughout a trial to sum up evidence, preview the ...

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Improv training can improve your trial skills

It’s not a setting where you would expect to find trial lawyers trying to hone courtroom skills, but improv classes can help litigators improve their courtroom presence and sharpen their ability to deal with the unexpected. In addition, improv classes ...

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Negotiating with the pro se litigant

It’s a common problem that can put attorneys on slippery ethical ground: How do you negotiate with the pro se adversary? The situation is akin to being a 200-pound high school football player challenged to a brawl by a 120-pound ...

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Finding and illustrating the ‘story’ in complex cases

Contrary to the belief among some litigators, compelling stories are not about intricacies of the law or what a key contract specified, but rather, they center on higher themes – justice versus injustice; right versus wrong; truth versus lies; the good guys versus the bad guys; fair versus unfair. The specific wording of the law, how the numbers fall, what the contract specified, how the product was defective or how a patent was infringed upon does not constitute a compelling story. Jurors come to a decision based on how they feel about the overall story, not on how they interpret the law.

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