There are three reasons why you think you’re not getting your verdict and then there are the real reasons you’re not getting your verdict.
In today’s episode of the FHTH podcast, I tell you exactly what those reasons are, so you can win more cases and change the world.
Get your pen and paper and tune in.
You do NOT want to miss this one. I swear.
Links from the episode:
EPISODE 208 TRANSCRIPTION
Welcome everyone to another episode of From Hostage to Hero. Sari de la Motte here with you today, and we're talking today about Three Reasons You're Not Getting Your Verdict.
If you hear some chewing noises in the background, that is not Kevin chewing on a bone. You might have thought of that. It is Demon Dog. She is back. If you don't know what I'm talking about, and she's coughing on her bone, we had to send our, here's your dog for cancer, that's cute, will sit on your lap, to doggy daycare... Not, doggy, bootcamp for bitches. That's what I was calling it, because it was more about a chew your face off situation than a cuddle dog situation.
She's back and much improved, and we've got her down here chewing on a bone. If you want to hear more about my adventures, make sure you get on our email list because I send y'all love notes every single Thursday. You can do that at sariswears.com.
Okay, we're going to start today with a... We got a new review, people. It is at Trial Guides for the eBook from Paul W., five stars, titled "One of my favorites". He says, "What separates Sari's work from many of the other trial lawyer books out there is that she is telling trial lawyers how to succeed with the unique skills that they possess as opposed to trying to make all trial lawyers look, sound, and act alike."
Yes, Paul, absolutely. That is what I am after. There is no formula. There are things that I can teach you and I want to teach you to do, but it's got to be in your own style. And more importantly, your mind has to be right to try anything that I'm telling you to do. Before I tell you what the three things are, the big reasons why you're probably losing your verdict, I'm going to assume two things.
The first thing is that your case has merit. Obviously, if you're taking a case to trial that shouldn't be tried, then these three things are not going to apply. You should have never taken it to trial. The second thing that I'm going to assume is that you have answered the questions, the two questions that I talk about quite often.
I think I talk about them in detail in Episode 163. You can go back and check. I didn't have a chance to listen through that, but from the title I think that might be the right one. But the two questions every plaintiff attorney must answer in their trial is, how could this have been avoided and how can money help? If you cannot answer those two questions, again, none of these three things that I'm about to talk about are going to apply. Even if you answer only one of those questions, you're still not doing it right, because jurors need to be able to understand that what happened in your case was avoidable. Meaning if the defense had followed certain rules, this would never have happened.
But they also need to be able to understand that money can help the situation. If they can look at your plaintiff and think, well, yes, this person needs money, but they cannot connect that what happened was avoidable, they're not going to give you money. If they conclude that it was totally avoidable, but that your client doesn't need any help, you're also not going to get your verdict. Going into today's episode, I want to be really clear that those are the two assumptions I am making. Assuming that you have a case that has merit and you have created an answer to both of these questions and clearly communicated that to jurors, there are three reasons why I think you are still losing if in fact that is happening.
Now, before I get there, let's talk about why you think you're not getting your verdict. There are three things I think you think are the reason why, and I want to dismantle those first.
The first reason is you think it's them. They are the problem. The Demon Dog has gone rogue, Kevin, cameraman. You think that the juror or jury is the problem, that they are a bad jury, that they wanted to screw you, that they don't understand what the case is about, which also that could actually be true.
But in most cases, in the majority of cases, I'm going to say probably all the cases, because if you have listened to my episode that is called The Jury Didn't "Get it Wrong", go back and listen to that one, it's not the jury. It's not the jury that is the problem.
The second reason that you think you lost trial, if in fact you did, is time. You believe that you had a lack of preparation. Now, that is rarely the case. I know that there are several trial attorneys out there who have big huge verdicts and they stand on the stages at various CLEs and they say things like, "It's all about preparation. You have to totally be prepared. That's why I won."
You've heard me say this before, but I'll say it again here, is that it is not possible to be "totally prepared." There has never been an attorney in the universe that has gone into trial thinking, "I am 100% prepared," first off. And secondly, it's not preparation that wins cases. Now, can preparation lack of lose cases? Sure, if you've done no preparation and you don't know what you're talking about. But my question to you is, if lack of preparation is why you lost your case, why do people hire people like Nick Rowley who on every level is less prepared than the person that hired him.
He can't possibly be more prepared than the person that hired him because the person that hired him knows the case. That blows that idea out of the water that preparation is what wins cases. It's a part of what wins cases, but it's not the reason why and it's certainly not the reason why you lost, again, unless you completely did not prepare. But that lack of total preparation is something you're telling yourself, it's really something your saboteur is telling you, because it's going to keep you working forever to be 100% prepared because that is not a goal you can ever achieve.
The third reason, beyond blaming them, the jury, and beyond blaming time or lack up thereof, you blame yourself.
I'm not charismatic enough. I don't know how to schmooze a jury. I don't know how to connect. It's me. I'm the problem. I'm the problem. I'm the problem. I want you to notice that all three of these things include the term or the thought enough. The jurors aren't good enough. You did not have enough time. You yourself are not good enough. None of those things are why you are not getting your verdict, because I believe that all of you are enough. You're more than enough. You just don't recognize it. You don't step into it. You don't claim it, and you do not broadcast it. You are hiding in your fear.
I've got a whole podcast episode on fear coming up. But you guys are not the problem. We know the jurors are not the problem, because jurors are the same wherever we go. Now, the different jurisdictions have different kinds of jurors. I'm also going to be talking about that in an upcoming podcast, but they're people. They're people and they are not the problem. And as I just said, lack of time is not the problem.
Here are the three real reasons why I believe you are losing at trial or why you are not getting your verdict.
First, top number one reason is that you haven't gotten the jury invested. In most cases, the jury is bored as fuck.
Now, we have to remember that your job as plaintiff attorneys is to motivate people to act, not persuade, motivate, meaning the easiest thing to do is to do nothing, to leave things as they are. Your job is to get people to do something, to want to do something. If they are bored, if they believe that your case has nothing to do with them personally, then they will not bring a verdict for you. Everybody listens to WIFM, what's in it for me? Your case has to fit into their worldview. It has to somehow violate a principle that they hold dear. Now, remember, principles are a fundamental truth that 99.9% of people believe in.
That's why in the H2H method, we firmly have a foundation of principles in all of our cases going to trial, because then you can show the jury that a principle that they hold dear is being violated versus look what happened to my client and look how sad that is and don't you want to fix that. Now, the Reptile method had a great attempt at doing this. The difference is, is that they are trying to engage a juror's reptile brain by fear and scarcity. I don't believe that that's the way we want to do things. Has it been successful? Yes, on a limited basis, for sure.
But I think that when we go to principles and we use the prefrontal cortex, we know that the prefrontal cortex makes better decisions than the amygdala, which is where the fear center lives. You have to get your jurors invested. If you're not getting them invested, they are not going to be motivated and we need them to be motivated to have a verdict in your favor. Again, in H2H, we're all about starting with principles in our case and then designing questions to have the jurors give us the principle. Again, if you want to go and learn how to do that, you can go to sariswears.com/training and we have a whole training on that. But that is the material point, the first point.
The second reason why you are not getting your verdict is because you are not passionate.
If we want to talk about persuasion and y'all want to talk about persuasion, I don't believe that you need it, but what I do believe you need is passion, because passion is the natural persuasion. It is the thing that gets people excited. You have to be so passionate and excited about your case because you have to go first. We take cases to trial, I see this all the time, that we're not excited about. We get a defense verdict and then we're like, "Yeah, those stupid fucking jurors."
My question to you is, if you're not excited about it, how do you expect them to be excited about it? Oftentimes, I will hear things like, well, there's nothing to get excited about. I mean, it's just a car crash, soft tissue, whatever, case. Listen, there is always something to get excited about in every case. Because when we make it principle based, here's another plug for principles, a principle is being violated, just because it's a "smaller case" does not mean that a bigger principle hasn't been violated. Like you hurt someone, you need to make it right, or you shouldn't lie about what happened, or whatever it may be.
You're always standing up for a principle. Even if you hate your client, even if you've got bad facts, you're always standing for a principle. There is a bigger game at play here. I talk a lot about how when Rick Friedman lost the da Vinci trials, the robotic surgery trials and I emailed him and I said, "I'm so sorry to hear about your loss," because it was a big loss, he said, "That's okay. We'll get them next time." Now, who's the them in that sentence? The people got away with it, in his case. He's talking about the bigger them, and that is what you always have to have a view on, is what is the bigger game you are playing?
The bigger game you're playing, at least in my mind, is to create a better world period. The way we create a better world is to hold bad actors accountable. That is what you are doing in every single case that you bring to trial, again, assuming you have good facts, and that is worthy of getting excited about. You set the tone at trial. If you're not excited, if you're not passionate about your case, the jurors cannot be excited either. I mean, this is why we have such a huge contingent in the H2H crew is because when we're back there and we're working up the cases, we start to get excited about them.
You can bring in the case and be like, "I hate this case. I hate my client," and you can leave going, "Oh my gosh, I'm so excited to try this." That's a big part of what we do back there because we know that passion is persuasion.
Number three, you have not owned your number. Here's why this matters. If you go in and you're timid on any level about the number you are asking for, you're afraid that it's too much, you're afraid about what the jurors will think, that is going to translate to the jury. I cannot be more clear that how you are feeling about everything, about the case, about your client, about the process, about your number is going to translate to the jury. Why?
Because they are hostages and they are looking for a leader and they're going to pick up on absolutely everything. I'm thinking about our Demon Dog. We brought her home after three months at this very expensive bootcamp for bitches. That's not the name, but they should totally game with that at that because it's brilliant, if I may say so myself. The first night she was here, she bit Kevin. We were like, oh my god, this didn't work. We called the trainers, and they're awesome. They came to our house and they taught us so many things about what to look for.
If you go and you're trying to, you're really scared and you're opening up the kennel or the crate, she's going to pick up on that and she's going to get scared too, and that's going to cause aggression. You can watch for blinking. You can watch for this. Think of your jurors like dogs. That's not what I really wanted to come out, but kind of the same thing, is that they're going to pick up on every emotion that you are having. Now, that doesn't mean that you need to scrub yourself of emotion. What it means is that you need to get confident and passionate and walk in there like a boss, and they're going to pick up on that.
We always want to be on the winning team. We always want to be with the winners. We want to align ourself with the wins. If you go in there and you're trying to persuade and convince and you're not sure, they're going to pick up on that. This person doesn't know what they're doing. They're not really sure about their case. I want to align with the winning side here. But if you go in there with like, we've already won, this is a slam dunk. You should never think your case is a slam dunk because then you get sloppy. That's not what I fucking mean. I mean, you get behind your case 100%, you got your holes plugged and you walk in there like a boss, they're going to want to align with you.
And that includes owning your number. Now, for me, the way to own a number is two things. It has to be a number that you can really fully stand behind, but it also has to be a teeny bit of a stretch, meaning there should be a little bit of a fear factor there. I'll have people come and say, "What should I ask?" And I never give numbers because you guys are always the, what's word that I'm looking for, expert on your case. But I'll say, what are you comfortable asking for? They'll say, 15 million. I'll go, great, ask for 20. They go, ooh. Now, if I say great, ask for 50, and they go, oh my God, no, then that's the wrong number.
But if I say, great, ask for 20 and they go ooh, then we found the right number. It's one that you can own that pushes you a little bit. Because why? That keeps the excitement in the trial. Listen, if jurors aren't invested, if you aren't invested, if you're not invested in your number, those are three things we just talked about, is it any wonder why you're not getting your verdict? You got to be so in love with your case. You got to get the jury in love with your case, and you got to be in love with your number as the right number. This is not about the wrong jury, it's about justice. Jurors need to see an injustice to be able to bring justice, and that is always bigger than your plaintiff.
It is not about preparation, it's about passion. If you are not excited, your jurors are not going to be excited, period. And we need them excited. It's not about charisma, it's about connection. It's about getting them invested, not with you necessarily, but with your case and with each other.
When you have that need for justice and that passion about your case and the connection between jurors and the case facts, now we have the winning combination for getting your verdict. Well, I hope that helps. Talk next week.
Have you ever wished that you knew what the jury was thinking? Well, grab a pen and paper because I'm about to give you instant access to a free training I created for plaintiff trial attorneys called 3 Powerful Strategies to Help You Read a Juror's Mind. It's going to help you to understand what the jury is thinking so you'll feel confident to trust them and yourself in the courtroom. Ready for the address? Go to sariswears.com/jury. Enjoy.
3 pOWERFUL STRATEGIES TO HELP YOU READ A JUROR'S MIND
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