Jan 26, 2017

Preparing Your Expert To Win A Jury Trial: Making Things More Complicated

You don’t win a trial with their expert. You win a trial with yours. Stop daydreaming about your next cross examination, and start obsessing about your next direct examination.

Every attorney is taught to “Keep It Simple Stupid” (KISS), but lawyers often forget the reason behind the rule and only present the simplest explanation or the simplest exhibit.

Why Shouldn’t I Keep Things Simple?

If you only keep it simple:

•You deprive the jury of the full body of evidence supporting your expert’s testimony.
•The jury may give the testimony less weight.
•You may fill jurors with a false sense of confidence regarding the material.

Ok, How Do We Complicate Things?

Every direct examination should start by presenting the most accurate and most complicate analysis before offering the more simple and accessible explanation. By doing so, you serve notice to the jury:

•Your expert knows infinitely more about the issue than anyone in the courtroom.
•They should trust your expert’s conclusions.

You should ask your expert to explain the exhibit in three ways:

1.The “He’s Smart” Exhibit
•This demonstrates how they would explain the concept or opinion at the most prestigious conference in their field.

2.The “That Makes Sense” Exhibit
•This identifies the best way to explain the same concept to college students or interns.

3.The “He Really Is An Expert” Exhibit
•This identifies the best way to explain and demonstrate the same concept to a high school freshman.

Jerry GlasJohn Jerry Glas - partner

John Jerry Glas is the Vice-Chair of the Civil Litigation Department. He has tried more than 70 jury trials to verdict, and recently authored the chapter on closing argument in the ABA’s 2015 trial tactics book: “From the Trenches: Strategies And Tips From 21 Of The Nation’s Top Trial Lawyers.”

Jerry currently serves as lead national trial counsel for the worldwide leading manufacturer of conducted electrical weapons. He also represents national insurance and excess insurance companies, trucking companies, grocery chains, restaurant chains, and law enforcement agencies.