Mystique of the Female Attorney

Back when I was in training to be an interrogator I heard many stories of how detainees in the middle east would fall in love with the female interrogators and fully comply with their every question. Information flowed like an avalanche. Fast forward 15 years later and I see the potential for the same mechanism to be taken advantage of in the Law field ...albeit for different reasons than I had originally thought. Any time I hear about the difference between female and male attorneys it’s in the negative. Negative, as in regards to what females don’t have and the challenges they face. What about the powers they actually possess? Powers that their male counterparts are less likely to hold? While women attorneys go to great lengths to reduce the many inequalities they experience in the field, how can you turn those female-specific attributes into an advantage? No, I’m not going down that route. What I’m saying is, women inherently have more advanced mental capabilities in one-on-one interactions such as client interviews or depositions than men. These differences have key strategic value that can change the outcome of almost any case if utilized to their maximum effect. The difference is [...]

Carpe Indicium (Seize the Information)

You are working on a case that is seemingly a slam-dunk in your client’s favor. Responsibility is clearly on the other party. Surprisingly, your case goes to trial and shockingly, you end up losing. Deciding this cannot happen again, you retrace how that had occurred. You observe that early in the process the opposition had taken a much different course of action than you did. While you were focusing on garnering statements from witnesses that proved what you had already thought, the opposing attorney held their cards close to the vest. You had no idea what they were up to. In trial, your client buries himself on the stand. You thought he told you all of the relevant information. After all, you were there to help him, right? So how did the opposing attorney get the upper hand? Good lawyers are guided by the facts. They are obsessed with the facts. They use facts to form their own argument, not use their argument as a basis to search for the appropriate facts. An integral part of the fact-finding phase in a case is the deposition. The purpose of a deposition according to the Practicing Law Institute: “A deposition permits a [...]

Fighting Practical Challenges in Virtual Depositions

A year ago, taking virtual depositions from your home was likely not the standard. Yet due to COVID-19, depositions from your home office, dinner table, or bedroom have become the norm for the forseeable future. With the advancement of technology, it is possible to hold virtual depositions in an efficient and productive manner. Unfortunately, you are at a disadvantage with virtual depositions of adverse witnesses… especially when it comes to assessing their behavior. In one-on-one interactions, there are two lines of communication: verbal and nonverbal. Verbal encompasses the things we say while nonverbal relays the things we feel. We often obsess over the verbal and give little conscious regard to the nonverbal. Non-verbal communication is commonly referred to as body language. Body language offers a form of communication that is far more connected to our emotions, thoughts, and feelings than verbal communication. Because of this, it is far less easy to manipulate than words. Therefore, each time we are unable, untrained, or unwilling to analyze body language, we are missing an opportunity to gain valuable knowledge and apply it. Even before COVID 19, assessing body language was a difficult task. Comprehensive knowledge of the various indicators of deception isn’t prevalent [...]

Maximizing Client-Attorney Interactions

Your client is being deposed by Bill, a partner at one of the most prestigious law firms in town. Bill asks your client when he last saw Ms. Davies before the accident at work. Confident in your client’s answer, you scroll down your notes, readying yourself for the smooth sailing that will become the home stretch of what would otherwise be a long litigation process, ending in a big win for your client and, of course, you. Feeling as if someone spills icewater on all of your internal organs, your face goes flush and your heart stops when your client responds to Bill differently than how you had scripted. Your whole defense was based on when your client last saw Ms. Davies and thus that one small detail that you knew you had 100% solidified was somehow altered. So how did Bill get different information from your client than you did? Was your client lying to you the entire time? How did you not notice? Or maybe your client changed his mind about what had happened at the last minute? Bill is a master manipulator, but he wouldn’t coerce a false response that easily, would he? Of course he didn’t, [...]

The RCAC Method For Trainers

Knowing your audience is important. While I was in intelligence training I received a brief regarding the capture of Saddam Hussein. I know the instructor was putting out incorrect information at times, if not embellishing, when telling us how the intel was developed. How did I know this? Well, I was sitting next to one of the two interrogators who procured the intelligence that found Saddam Hussein and I knew the factual account quite well. Don’t assume everyone is a novice to your information just because you’re giving a class on it. On the flip side, it can be difficult to judge what information they already have and what you need to fill them in on, especially when delivering a course with complex information. Whether you have a class size of 5 or 500, ensuring everyone is on the same page can be quite difficult. When a student has a question, chances are that student is not the only student with that question. Quite possibly, every other student is thinking the same thing. So are you effectively answering what they want to know? How do you know? If you aren't using the RCAC method, you may be losing your [...]

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