Litigation

Cal. Litig. 2022, VOLUME 35, ISSUE 2

TELL IT TO THE JUDGE … OR THE JURY … OR THE ARBITRATOR? BEFORE YOU TELL YOUR STORY … KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE!

Written by Kevin P. Dwight*

Storytelling is a critical part of every case. A jury has to believe your story, relate to it, and feel that the outcome you are asking each juror to deliver is, at the end of the day, a fair and just result. A judge, who has hundreds of other cases on his or her docket, also wants to reach the right result, but wants you to deliver it as efficiently as possible, without all the pizzazz attendant to a jury trial. Trying your case before an arbitrator requires a combination of the two — enough zest to keep the proceedings lively, while understanding you are telling your story to a sophisticated factfinder, typically a former judge or experienced litigator.

This article explores strategies for securing the right audience for your case — judge, jury, or arbitrator. Next, tips are presented to help you tell your story most effectively to give you the best chance of success, depending on your particular audience. Finally, this article examines how to tell our stories if, heaven forbid, we need to keep telling them to judges, juries, and arbitrators over Zoom and other remote video software programs.

STRATEGIES FOR SECURING THE RIGHT AUDIENCE FOR YOUR CASE

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