Effective Storytelling in the Courtroom

(814 Ratings)

Produced on: April 15, 2016

Course Format On Demand Audio

Taught by

Categories:

Course Description

Time 90 minutes
Difficulty Intermediate

What do we want the American courtroom to be? This is perhaps the most vital question facing our criminal justice system today. Although we have constructed an elaborate system of evidential rules and court procedures, a trial is much more than a mere sum of its evidentiary parts. Instead, it is a theater in which the parties act out a human drama and the jury provides the conclusion.

 

As any experienced trial lawyers know, trials often take on a life of their own, and the outcome of the case is affected by factors that go well beyond eyewitness testimony, exhibits, and stipulations. As shocking as this might seem, factors that are not technically evidence – such as the quality of a lawyers’ opening statements or closing arguments, the appearance and reaction of the defendant in the courtroom – can mean the difference between acquittal or conviction.

 

As Clarence Darrow once said, “Jurymen seldom convict a person they like, or acquit one that they dislike. The main work of a trial lawyer is to make a jury like his client, or, at least, to feel sympathy for him; facts regarding the crime are relatively unimportant.”

 

And here is where storytelling comes into play. The very essence of a trial is a story – the story of a human experience. Story is the most powerful tool of persuasion. Very simply, people think in terms of a story, not syllogisms. Imagine telling a story that is so powerful that if the jury could speak back from the jury box, they would be exclaiming, "Of course! That's so true."

 

To become good storytellers and effective trial lawyers, we must now accept what we once learned to reject, to take up what we once set aside – the human drama, how the experience was lived and felt by the people involved. This course will teach you how.

 

Learning Objectives:

I.     Learn how to present your client’s set of facts as an effective and compelling narrative 

II.    Understand how various facets of trial presentation and appearance affect jury opinion

III.   Identify best techniques and strategies for presenting your case, your client, and yourself during trial

Faculty

Michael J. DeBlis, III

DeBlis & DeBlis Law Firm

Michael J. Deblis, III is a passionate trial lawyer. He puts his heart and soul into fighting for his clients. Michael is a living example of the tremendous power that comes from combining passion, preparation, persuasion, and positive communication in the courtroom.

 

As a former public defender, Michael has defended the poor, the forgotten, and the damned against a government that has seemingly unlimited resources to investigate and prosecute criminal allegations. He has spent the last six years cutting his teeth on some of the most serious felony cases, obtaining results that have proven favorable for his clients. He knows what it’s like to go toe to toe with the government. In an adversarial environment that is akin to trench warfare, Michael has developed a reputation as a fearless litigator.

 

Michael graduated – cum laude – from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School. He then earned his LL.M. in International Tax and Financial Services at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, graduating summa cum laude. Michael’s unique background in tax law puts him into an elite category of criminal defense attorneys who specialize in criminal tax defense. His extensive trial experience and solid grounding in all major areas of federal taxation make him uniquely qualified to handle any white-collar case, no matter how sophisticated it might be.

 

Michael is known for his creativity, his charismatic personality, and his unyielding dedication to his clients. As a graduate of the National Criminal Defense College, Michael has trained under some of the best known criminal defense attorneys in the country. That experience has taught him that justice for a person accused of a crime is only won through a full understanding of the client and the case. To that end, Michael attempts to understand each client’s case as a convincing narrative, not just as a set of innocuous facts and arcane legal rules.

 

Michael has been featured on the media affiliates of several major media networks, including NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, and CNN.

 

Michael is a prolific writer in the area of foreign asset reporting and voluntary disclosure. He has written articles that have been featured in leading tax journals such as CCH Journal of Tax Practice and Procedure, Global Tax Weekly, and ABA News Quarterly.

 

A passionate blogger, Michael's blogs have appeared on TaxConnections' "Worldwide Tax Blogs" and most recently, on the About.com "Tax Planning" blog.

 

Michael is committed to understanding the needs of each client and tailoring a litigation plan to meet those needs. His courage and relentless work ethic have earned him a reputation as a zealous advocate and one of New Jersey’s rising stars of the legal profession.

Reviews

MB
Melissa B.

A unique perspective into the use of creativity and human connection for trial practice.

MF
Michael F.

The presenter was very engaging as well as knowledgeable regarding the topic.

LC
Linda C.

This presentation was excellent, and eye-opening. I think it will truly change my practice

HA
Helen A.

Very interesting program.

VM
Vera M.

Good storyteller!

DD
David D.

Really great course.

JC
Jeff C.

excellent- especially the reference to Dana Cole

GA
Glen A.

Exceeded my expectations.

FS
Fausto S.

Great speaker and relevant examples.

KG
Kaitlyn G.

Really enjoyed this CLE, informative and interesting

CW
Charles W.

Good presentation.

CF
Cecil F.

Great Lecturer/Teacher

MA
Michael A.

this was one of the best courses I've seen in a long time.

SC
Stephen C.

Awesome, interesting approach to winning over a jury at trial. Highly recommend!

DI
Damian I.

This was one of the best presenters and CLEs that I have seen.

KS
Kevin S.

Excellent presentation. I think the speaker effectively explored aspects of legal practice that is rarely addressed in law school, but should be

ZS
Zvi S.

Good

JS
Jennifer S.

Excellent ideas!

HA
Howard A.

Very helpful and speaker's website has a wealth of additional information.

SR
Steven R.

One of the most outstanding programs I have ever listen to. I could not be more pleased with the information I received. A wonderful speaker and very well prepared – I'm sure he's one hell of a lawyer.

JO
James O.

Best ever!

KD
keith d.

Many fine points for an overview. Enjoyed.

BJ
Benjamin J.

Excellent

DJ
Darrell R. J.

Bring him back. Insightful and practical presentation that can be immediately incorporated into jury practice.

GC
Garret C.

Very comprehensive written materials.

JS
John S.

Good program

BK
Bohdan K.

This course and the instructor's presentation were very informative and practical.

DC
Daphne Marie C.

Although presented from perspective of a criminal defense attorney, there are many valuable takeaways that can be applied to civil trials.

BY
B.Casey Y.

excellent discussion about use of story telling and technique. I will practice and use these in my own cases.

JC
James C.

Very effective intro to the use of storytelling for the good trial litigator; a better understanding of a trial as a form of tbeater.

JK
James K.

Very passionate about the subject.

MP
Michael P.

A very refreshing approach which utilizes the psyche of the juror in a very realistic and compelling way. I recommend it highly.

PH
paul h.

Absolutely superb. Any attorney who does not watch this program is making a mistake. The story is the key to trial success.

JA
Jennifer A.

Extremely well done. Most prepared presentation of all I've viewed.

DL
Debra L.

Very engaging!

TL
Thomas L.

very good.

JL
James L.

Unique and keen.

RK
Richard K.

one of your best courses

ST
Stacey T.

Outstanding!

LH
Lee H.

Some creative ideas in presenting evidence and testimony--some things you don't really think of in a courtroom, more on stage maybe!!! Most cases are probable much more mundane and may not lend themselves to this kind of creative acting, but certainly "entertaining" and at times these approaches may be very effective!!1

AC
Alexander C.

Really wonderful course. Great presenter. He knows how to capture the audience. I learned a lot

KC
Kitty C.

Excellent

JB
Jarrod B.

Best one i have seen.

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