Dr. Noelle Nelson

What the Trix Cereal Rabbit Can Teach Litigators

So you thought cutesy cereal boxes were designed just to capture your innocent toddler’s rapt attention? Nope. In a Cornell University study, researchers manipulated the gaze of the cartoon rabbit on Trix cereal boxes and found that adult subjects were more likely to choose Trix over competing brands if the rabbit was looking at them […]

The Question’s Not the Problem: The Answer May Be

How many times in your youth, were you told by a benevolent, or at the very least, good-hearted, coach or teacher, “There’s no such thing as a stupid question.” You’ve probably said that very phrase to your children as well.  And yet, when jurors ask during deliberations to have something explained to them or ask […]

Address Your Jurors’ Overriding Concerns: Safety & Trust

Did you know that the United States is near the top of all countries in terms of anxiety? The U.S. comes in a close second behind Greece in adult stress levels—55 percent according to the Gallup World Emotions Report. This number is 20 percent higher than the global average. We live in one of the most […]

Who Has The Longer Attention Span? Your Jurors or A Goldfish?

–The average attention span of a human being in 2000: 12 seconds –The average attention span of a human being in 2023: 8.25 seconds –The average attention span of a goldfish: 9 seconds Do I have your attention now?! This is the unfortunate reality you are up against in the courtroom. A goldfish has a longer attention […]

A Dynamite Persuasion Technique: “But You Are Free”

We live in the “land of the free, home of the brave.” As a people, we cherish freedom, but it’s something lawyers do not always factor into voir dire and closing arguments. And yet, 42 psychological studies on 22,000 people has shown that the single most powerful persuasion technique is to give people the freedom to choose. […]

Use Repetition to Drive Juror Acceptance of Your Case

When the jurors troop into the jury room for deliberations, every litigator’s dream is that each of them would, individually, spout your case theme/key points so that group consensus in your favor is inevitable. But how do you get them to do that? By presenting a targeted, credible and compelling case. That’s a given. In […]

Pressuring Potential Jurors in Voir Dire Can Backfire at Trial

Time after time, what I discover in jury debriefings is that jurors don’t like being “interrogated” during voir dire. They don’t mind being questioned, but they heartily dislike attorney attempts to force answers out of them and especially resent being pressured into a “yes” or “no” response. Now this wouldn’t be so critical if it […]

Win Your Case by Winning Client Cooperation!

It’s often said that the practice of law would be great if it weren’t for clients. Clients, of course, are what drive your business, so like it or not, part of a successful practice is learning how to deal with difficult clients. Most clients don’t set out to be difficult, but in their frustration, anxiety […]

Want to Win? Start Off On The Right Foot With Prospective Jurors

When prospective jurors walk into the courtroom, they only know one thing for sure: the courtroom is His/Her Honor’s private reserve, and the Judge’s word is law. Everything about the physical layout of the courtroom says “In this room, the Judge is Top Dog, and whatever they say is set in stone.” The Judge sits […]

How Your Emotions Can Help You Win Your Case

The question of whether to trust our logic or trust our emotions is rarely brought up in the context of legal matters, at least not from the lawyer’s point of view. Certainly, we discuss endlessly how this or that prospective juror’s mindset (highly emotional versus highly rational) might impact our case, but not usually how […]