Storytelling and the Eastern District

Sheri Qualters on addresses recent defense verdicts in the Eastern District of Texas, which is generally thought to be more plaintiff friendly. (Barnes & Roberts consulted and created presentations for the defense in four of the five verdicts mentioned in the article.)

Interestingly, several people in the article credit improved storytelling as part of the reason the defenses have been faring better.  The article quotes Judge Leonard Davis:

“[In] some of the defense cases that I’ve seen, the defense lawyers are getting much better at putting together a story and a defense that is not just technically right but appeals to an average lay juror’s sense of right and wrong,” Davis said. “I think they’re making it simpler and doing a good job of communicating with the jury.”

As we’ve been writing over at The Jury Expert, effective communication with the jury involves finding the balance between telling the jury a good story and presenting your evidence clearly. It’s not an either/or thing, you’ve really got to do both well. Creating a good narrative structure for your presentation, backed by well designed visuals, gives you the best chance at persuading a jury.