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Introducing the Neural Story Model

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See thorugh of head to brain lit upThere are many theories designed to explain how jurors understand and analyze trial-related information in order to reach a verdict.  The most widely adopted approach to juror decision making is the story model (Devine, Clayton, Dunford, Seying & Pryce, 2000). The story model of juror decisions making explains that jurors reach a verdict by assembling “the evidence into a coherent whole that is consistent ...

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You Can Know Your Jury as Well as You Know Your Shadow

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We recently assisted in a trial by facilitating a shadow jury. As is the case with most shadow juries, the results of our shadow jury mirrored the final results of the seated jury.

The tangible advantage of the shadow jury we conducted was that it allowed the attorneys to gauge the impact of each day of ...

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Crystal Balls Aren’t Real But Focus Groups Are

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Imagine that you are back in your high school history class and it is time for your final exam. How well would you do on that exam if you had a sneak peak at the exam questions – before you took the test?

Fast forward to the present and instead of preparing for ...

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Stories make Jurors take Action

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If you make an argument, you’re implicitly asking the jury to evaluate your argument – to judge it, debate it, criticize it and then argue back. But when you tell a story, you are inviting the jury to accompany on a trip that ends with your desired outcome.

The power of story is ...

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Emotions make Jurors Care

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The purpose of making a message emotional is to make the jury care enough to act. There are three ways you can infuse emotions into your presentation to the jury:

  • Use Associations: The easiest way to make a juror care is to create an association between something that the juror does not ...
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The Curse of Knowledge

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I see your Nunc Pro Tunc and I will raise you one Ex Parte Motion and a Habeas Corpus. Boy, talk about a Non Sequitur.  As a trial attorney, you probably know and use more Latin phrases in a week than most jurors will hear in a lifetime and that is a curse. Specifically, it ...

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Keep it Simple

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As a trial attorney you probably know that if you argue ten points, when the jury goes to deliberate, they won’t recall most of your points. On the other hand, if you argue a few points, jurors will recall those points and carry them into the jury room.

The challenge to the trial attorney is to keep the ...

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Credible Messages

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As a trial attorney, you want the jury to believe your message. Jurors will believe a credible message.  A credible message is a message that offers reasonable grounds for being believed. A message can draw upon two sources of credibility:

  • External Credibility: We believe ideas because family and friends believe, we have experiences that ...
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And Now for Something Completely Different…

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How do you gain and hold a juror’s attention? Use unexpectedness – but be sure that you use the right kind of unexpectedness.

You can use surprise to gain the attention of the juror. You can use mystery to hold the attention of the juror. Surprise is a brief emotional state and it only holds a ...

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Using the Story Model for Creative Case Presentations

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Imagine the day is nearing when you will be presenting  the complexities of your case to a mediator, judge or jury.  How many boxes of evidence do you have? Did you just take your tenth, fifteenth or even twenty-fifth deposition in this case? Do you have all the important details of the case committed to memory? Or perhaps you have ...

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