Dr. Noelle Nelson

Use “Less is More” to Win in Court

trial strategies

Some courts are lenient with the amount of time allotted for a trial, some are not. It certainly can seem impossible, sometimes, to jam the amount of evidence and testimony you have in the number of hours permitted.

And yet, as is so often true of many things in life “Less is more.”

On being debriefed, some jurors stated that the matter at hand was treated with less than full consideration as the trial stretched on and on. Jurors began discussing plans for the various events in their lives, sharing thoughts about how to deal with children, difficult bosses, and so on, clearly impatient and bored with what they were experiencing as an unnecessarily long process.

Jurors who may have had the patience to sit through long trials and long deliberations some 10 or so years ago are no longer willing to be held hostage past what they consider a sufficient rendering of the facts and testimony. Our world has sped up tremendously: we abbreviate everything, we rely on bullets and headlines, and we expect everything to happen quickly, as in “now.”

This is one of the great advantages of focus groups: attorneys are forced to reduce their entire case to a mere hour and a half, which puts a glaring spotlight on what is essential and what could be left aside.

Yes, you still must get across your points, you must still develop testimony and present evidence appropriately. However, a great deal can often be trimmed from the presentation of your case without losing impact. If anything, you generally gain impact from being succinct.

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