There are four things you need if you want to become a master at anything… including the craft of trial lawyering.
Tune in to today’s podcast to find out what those four things are and why you should not hire a trial consultant (including me)—until you have ‘em.
Don’t spend a cent on a trial consultant until you listen to this episode. Promise?
EPISODE 195 TRANSCRIPTION
Hello everyone. Welcome to another episode of From Hostage to Hero. Today we're talking about Why You Don't Want to Work With Me One-on-One, and I'm going to explain what I mean in just a minute.
We just opened the H2H Playground™ yesterday. You can go to sariswears.com/play, and we're very excited about that. But when we talked to people about why they didn't join in our last open, they'll normally come up with two objections.
The first objection is time, right? So that's always one of the objections. I don't have the time. Here's what I'll say about that because this is not about that, but just to continue moving on here, is that if you do not have time to work on your craft, then you shouldn't be a trial lawyer, full stop.
The second objection we get is money, which I also call bullshit on because the cost of a year's worth of H2H Playground™, a year, is less than, way less, than the cost of one focus group. So money is also not an issue. But we're not talking about time or money today.
The third objection that I get quite a bit, and even if you're in the crew already, you want to keep listening because I'm going to talk about some differences here, is that I don't need to join the crew. I'm just going to hire you one-on-one. And so today I'm going to tell you why you do not want to hire me or any other consultant one-on-one for a very particular reason. I know it's a weird thing to say, and it's not because I'm crazy that you don't want to hire me. I mean, I am. And it's not because don't know my shit, because I do.
The reason why you don't want to hire a consultant is because working with me or anyone else is not going to give you what you actually need. Now, hang on, we'll talk about when it's the right time to hire a consultant, but the reason why most of you are not joining the H2H crew have it backwards. I mean, let's talk about why we hire consultants. We have a problem that we need to solve. That's the main reason we hire any kind of consultant, trial consultants included. So for trial consultants, that's an opening that you need to help create, your voir dire. Who am I kidding? Nobody talks about voir dire, not many consultants I know. We do, but not many other consultants. Or you need some strategy or witness prep, right? So you go to a consultant, you hire them, they help you with your problem until you have another problem, i.e. another trial, and then you have to go back.
Now, not only is this expensive, so for example, our new Trial Lab program, which is a week with me here in Portland, is $50,000 a seat. Let's say you have two trials, that's a hundred thousand dollars in one year. So not only is it expensive, I know other trial consultants charge a lot of money too, it's also creating a dependency model because every time you're up against trial, you now need to hire a consultant yet again to solve your problem. And now for some of you, this isn't an issue. I mean, you go to trial once, maybe twice a year, maybe once every couple years. I mean, H2H crew, we get people going all the time, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 times a year. But outside of cost, it's still not what you need. Not really. I mean, if you're the type that rarely goes to trial, fine. But if you are working on your craft, hiring a trial consultant is not going to cut it.
Here's why. There are four ingredients to mastery. And that's what I mean by working on your craft, mastering the art, because I do believe it is an art and that you are all artists, of trial lawyering.
So the four ingredients to mastery.
The first one, you've heard me talk about this before, is TRAINING.
You need someone to train you on all of the aspects of what it takes once you're in trial. You need someone to train you on how to create a voir dire. You need someone to train you on how to conduct a voir dire. You need someone to train you on how to evaluate a voir dire, to know if what you're doing is working, how to create an opening, how to deliver an opening, how to pivot from objections, how to pivot from weird juror answers. You need training on all that.
You need training on how to run a law business. You need training on how to focus on your zone of genius. You need all sorts of training when you're a trial lawyer. You need mindset training on how to deal with your fear, which is the number one reason why y'all aren't getting the verdicts that you want. You need all sorts of training. And hiring a consultant, you don't get that. Why? Because they know how to do it, and they aren't interested in helping you know how to do it. That's why you hire them, to quote, unquote, cut out the middleman. You're hiring them so you don't have to learn how to do it and that they'll do it for you. They'll tell you the right things to say. They'll tell you what strategy to use. The end, right?
Now, I'm interested in helping you actually learn how to do it, but I'm limited. I mean, I remember when I first started consulting. I would try to do training with my clients before we actually got to their actual case, and it was like drinking water from a fire hose. That's an actual quote from more than one client. Because I tried to shove in all of this learning and training that they needed to be able to do the things I was going to have them do. Not only was it not effective, we didn't have the time, and neither will any other trial consultant. You do not get a consultant for training. You get a consultant for their expertise so that they have the knowledge that you are paying for. You are not paying for them to help you have the knowledge and be as smart as they are. All right?
The second real essential thing, probably the most essential thing that you need to master anything and work on your craft is PRACTICE.
Now, I talked about this two podcasts ago about how no jury has ever gotten it wrong, or the jury doesn't get it wrong. And part of that is because of factors in society. And the other part of that is that y'all aren't practicing, okay? Now, when you're working on a craft, you have to actually be doing the thing. You can't just be reading about it, listening to it, watching other people do it. Look at what I just described, books, podcasts and court view network, right? This is the majority of your learning. That doesn't fucking cut it. Even going to seminars doesn't cut it, not unless they've got you up and on your feet. And even if they do have you up and on your feet, if you're going to one or two seminars a year, it's not enough.
Practice is essential for trial lawyers, period.
If you are not practicing on a regular basis, you will never ever become the artist I know that A, you can become, and B, that you must become to get the justice your clients sorely need.
You can take my free course on funnel method, create massively awesome funnels, but not know what to do when you ask a question and the juror gives you some weird answer, or when the conversation starts to go off the rails, how to get that back or how to recover when you forget your content.
You need practice. You need to be in the arena. I know the actual arena's in courtroom, but you actually need to be in the arena having all of these things happen to you on a regular basis so that you are building the skill of handling shit in the moment. Because here's what trial is. It is not a scripted event. As y'all know, weird stuff happens all the fucking time. Trial is a moment by moment thing, and you've got to have practice at that. It's not just about head knowledge.
It's about knowing and having the muscle memory, the body memory of how to pivot, how to play in the moment. And you need practice. And not just practice, you need regular, regular practice.
Now, you're not practicing with consultants. Most of the time when you hire a consultant, you're working on strategy, you're working on content, you're getting boards made. You're not practicing. You're not standing up and doing all the things.
The third thing you need to master anything, first is training, second is practice, is FEEDBACK.
Practice is meaningless without feedback. You definitely need someone telling you whether you're practicing the right things. I'm thinking about my piano training. If a student goes away and practices a C major scale with an E flat in it, which is wrong, for those of who don't know, C major scale has no sharps or flats, and they practice that scale, C, D, E flat, F, G, A, B, C, over and over and over again, they're practicing, but they're practicing it wrong.
So feedback is really important. It's like same thing with sports coaching. You don't just practice on your own shooting hoops in your driveway. You got to go and work with coach, actually in the sports room. I don't know, what's the name of that? The gym, maybe that's the right... the arena, whatever it may be. You know how I am with my sports stuff.
So you've got to have that feedback from someone who knows what they're talking about. And again, you're not going to get that in consulting because they are the ones that have the information that are imparting to you. They're not training you up to become an awesome trial lawyer. It's like going to see a doctor. They have specialized knowledge to help you fix an issue. They're not training you how to be a doctor. You are looking, at least I hope you are, those of you who are dedicated to becoming the best trial lawyer you can, for someone or something to help you become the best trial lawyer you possibly can become. You're not going to get that through consulting.
The fourth thing that you need is you need COMMUNITY.
This is so important. We tend to think of community as a bonus, like it's nice to be learning along with other people, but rarely do we ever talk about it as essential. I mean, again, going back to our sports metaphor, think about this. They don't practice by themselves with the coach. They practice together because it's a team effort. And you might, "Well, it's not a team effort in court. I'm there by myself, or I have co-counsel." But it is, in the larger sense, a team effort because here's what you're going to get with community.
First of all, you're going to get the opportunity to practice unless you want to spend all the money, all the fucking time to get mock juries put together, you've got a built-in practice jury when you are practicing with your teammates, okay? That's one thing. But you're also going to learn from all of this varied experience.
Listen, I or any other consultant can never, ever possibly give you the amount of insight that say 200 trial lawyers can, which is now a little... We have a little over that amount of people in our H2H crew. They're always going to be able to give you different aspects than I can give you. So that varied experience is so huge. But you don't think the biggest thing and why community is so important in terms of mastering something is because you're going to see when you are in a community that values practice and feedback and training, that you are not alone.
This is the biggest thing that is stopping most of you from getting help, whether that's mental health help, whether that's trial help, whether that's just a buddy to say, "Hey, I've been there," is because you think it's just you that's dealing with whatever issue you're dealing with.
When you have a community, you recognize real quick and real fast that that community is having the exact same issues that you are, and there is a strength in that. There is an energy that you can pull from so that when you do go alone, quote, unquote, to court, you really aren't going alone because you've got the strength of your community backing you. In fact, many people in the H2H crew show up to support crew members while they are in trial. That community piece is huge.
When you have all four of these things, the training, the practice, the place to practice, the feedback on that practice and the community supporting you, that's what you need to become the best attorney you can be.
And I can't give you that one-on-one. I can't give you training because as I said, there's not enough time. I can't give you practice. You can practice in front of me, but if you haven't had the training, there isn't anything to practice. Not to mention, it's just an audience of one, which unless you're arguing in front of a judge, I guess could be helpful. But around here we're all about jury trials, I can give you feedback, but not if you're not practicing. What am I going to give you feedback on? And I can't give you community because it's just me. I mean, I'm awesome, but I'm not as awesome as this huge hive mind that we've created back there in the H2H crew, and now they called the H2H Playground™.
Now you might say, "Yeah, but Sari, you can help me with content, right? That's what I need help with, to know how to put my opening together. Or as you said, you're really one of the only people who talk about voir dire in such depth, and so you could help me put that together." Yeah, I could totally help you do that. So can our H2H coaches. But content alone does not cut it. And now I know y'all are about content, all about what you say. You just spend so much of your time, your trial prep time, figuring out what you're going to say. And content, yes, is a cornerstone of the H2H Method, but without the other cornerstones delivery and mindset, it's meaningless. It's meaningless.
Now, we've got, or we had, our webinar yesterday on the parts of the H2H Method, talked about in detail about content and delivery and mindset. Content is a huge piece, but it's not the only piece. And so if you are hiring a consultant, again, you're mostly just working on that one piece, and it takes all three pieces.
Now, if you want to master trial lawyering, I should say, you need those four things, the training, the practice, the feedback and the community, but you also need one thing all else. And here's what it is.
You need consistency. You need consistent training, consistent practice, consistent feedback, and a community that is always there for you.
I'm suggesting that you find that wherever you can find it. I will tell you, it's rare to find it outside of H2H. TLC, a great place to find... I don't agree with all of the things that they're doing over there, but I know that a lot of people love TLC. I love my TLCers. We have a lot of them in the group. But you need to be in a place where that is consistent because that is how you're going to grow your craft of being a trial lawyer.
So the question then becomes, so when do you hire a consultant? Well, to help you incorporate what you're learning. Let me just talk about how we do it here in the H2H crew. Our consultants beyond me will help you if you need some guidance in the process, if you need some handholding, if you want, yes, that expertise. But the way that we have it set up is that consulting works so much better when you know the method already.
So that's why the people in the H2H crew will hire our consultants because they know the method, and now they're looking to take it up a notch and get some extra help to clarify their thinking. They've already done a bunch of the work once they get to the consulting stage. Now, those of you who continue to say, "Yeah, but I'd rather just hire you instead of joining the H2H Playground," here's what I have to say because you haven't listened to anything I've had to say. So let me just put it straight. You can't. I don't work with people unless they're in the H2H crew. I mean, you can apply for the Trial Lab, which is our week-long program. Three seats, right? We're only doing one this year.
But there's a reason why you apply because the seats go automatically to H2H crew members first and foremost. And if you're not an H2H crew member, you've got to prove to me that the method well enough that we're not spending our time training you once you get here. So you can't hire me outside of Trial Lab, and that is something you got to apply to do. My VIP program where I work with three individuals throughout the year, only H2H members. Why? Again, because it's designed... Our Trial Labs and our VIP programs, for me, the people I work with one-on-one... And not even one-on-one. Notice how both of those have a component of three. Why? Again, because the community is so important.
When our VIPs came out last year and spent a week with me, it was one of the most transformational experiences they had and I had ever, and our team had. It was incredible. Have we had great stuff with our one-on-one clients? Yes. But when we bring people together, it just takes it to a completely different place. So I don't even do the one-on-ones anymore outside of the people who kind of grandfathered in. I even do group, three people in the Trial Labs, three people in the VIP program. But it's designed to deepen the learning that you already are getting by being H2H member and then playing with it in front of mock juries. That's where my expertise is going to come in.
It isn't designed to solve your problems. I mean, problems will get solved, of course, because in either of those programs, you bring in an actual trial. But the point of both of those programs is to grow you as a trial lawyer. And to do that, you need a foundation.
H2H Playground™ gives you that foundation. We have eight separate events every single month. We try to have two a week. So it's enough, but not too much to overwhelm you. Now, if you think, well, I could never go to eight events in a month, neither can any of our H2H members. I mean, there may be one or two special snowflakes that have been able to do it. Everything's recorded, but there's always something popping up that you can join so that you are consistently working on your craft. There's my live training at the beginning of the month. There's that training piece. There's mindset calls, both a structured one and an office hours where you can just show up and just talk about whatever you want to talk about. So there's that piece in terms of training your mindset.
We've got voir dire and opening learning labs so you can learn the content and get feedback on it. We've got Voir Dire Circle where you can actually do the voir dire. That's that practice and feedback. And we've got the presentation skills coaching, again, where you can deliver openings or closing and practice and get that feedback. And I'm probably forgetting things that we have in there. But the point is that it's consistent and it's got a kick-ass community. It also, by the way, gives you access to me if that's what you're looking for, and all of our other kick coaches who yes, offer that consulting. But if you want access to my training, you want my feedback, you want to practice with me, the H2H crew is the place to at least start. Because for the VIP program, you need an invite, and for Trial Lab, you need to apply, and that first goes to H2H crew members.
So here's what I want to leave you with. Here at Team Sari, we are all about helping you to never worry about winning again. That cannot happen for you by hiring a consultant, even me, because once trial is over, that worry starts up again about the next trial coming down the pike. If you want to never worry about winning again, you need those four pieces, and you need those four pieces consistently. So get off your ass and get into the H2H Playground™ now. You will not regret it. Those people are amazing. They're doing amazing things. And yes, here I am shamelessly plugging the Playground again, because we only open two times a year. That's it. This is your only time until September. So get in now. Let's make this year a great one. Talk soon.
If you liked this episode topic, check out these others:
- Episode #194 – 10 Reasons All Trial Lawyers Need a Coach
- Special Episode – Sari SquadCast: H2H Faculty Answers Your Top Questions
- Episode #196 – Do You Have Trial Trauma?
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