ARTICLE: Mise en Scène and the Decisive Moment of Visual Legal Rhetoric

The French phrase “mise en scene” translates to a: the arrangement of actors and scenery on a stage for a theatrical production b : stage setting 2a : the physical setting of an action (as of a narrative or a motion picture) : context https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mise-en-sc%C3%A8ne In this important article, Professor Michael Murray uses the 15

Your Bias Is Rubbing Off on Me: The Impact of Pretrial Publicity and Jury Type on Guilt Decisions, Trial Evidence Interpretation, and Impression Formation

Does pre-trial publicity have a lasting effect on juror bias, predisposition, and verdict votes?  The answer, according to this study, is “yes,” at least sometimes.  More importantly, judicial inquiries of “can you put that outside of your mind” and judicial admonishments to “decide this case on the facts, and not on anything you read or

THEATER AND FILM TECHNIQUES, PERSUASION AND COURTROOM CHOREOGRAPHY

Lawyers must be persuaders, and to persuade they must tell and show stories.  Keith Belzer, an exceptionally gifted lawyer and trainer, details how lawyers may and should use techniques from theater and film – particularly in ‘staging’ the courtroom and using and manipulating space – to most effectively communicate the story of the case.

“WERE THEY LYING?” QUESTIONS: A PRACTITIONER’S LOOK AT THE CALIFORNIA RULE VERSUS THE FEDERAL RULE,

When is it permissible for a lawyer questioning a witness to ask that person whether a previous witness or someone whose out-of-court statement was admitted was lying?  This article confirms that the basic approach, especially for federal court trials, is “never.”  It also shows that California may recognize limited exceptions to the general proscription. This

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR EXPERT

Lawyers need to train their experts?  Well, sort of. Experts need no training in their subject matter, but they may and often do need guidance in preparing for report-writing, depositions, and trial.  And there may be no better guide than the succinct ABA publication HOW TO TRAIN YOUR EXPERT: MAKING YOUR CLIENT’S CASE. Written as

TRIAL TACTICS

There can be no doubt that Stephen Saltzburg knows his way around a courtroom, and his way around the Federal Rules of Evidence, too.  This prowess is on full display in the fourth edition of Trial Tactics, released by the ABA earlier this year.  Trial Tactics takes Saltzburg’s columns from the ABA’s “Criminal Justice” magazine,

FOOLPROOF: THE ART OF COMMUNICATION FOR LAWYERS AND PROFESSIONALS (NITA 2018)

Where do I stand?  When should I move – my location, my arms?  Is this much eye contact too much eye contact?  How loud should I get, and when?  And in all of this, where is the line between communicating effectively and being seen as histrionic or manipulative? Those are among the questions FOOLPROOF is

TOUGH CASES

This book might be titled, alternatively, JUDGING JUDGES or JUDGES JUDGE THEMSELVES.  It is a text I was prepared to discount as self-serving – judges writing about some of the “hardest decisions they’ve ever made” according to the cover’s blurb.   I was wrong.   This is a mostly remarkable collection of essays, each from one

POINT WELL MADE

  Motions – pre-trial, mid-trial – are where the edge is gained in litigation.  Said more powerfully, the lawyer who understands and excels in motions practice – narrowing the claims, restricting or amplifying the admissible proof and how it is to be considered – is the lawyer who controls the litigation and is better positioned