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Introduction to persuasion and theory of the case

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Introduction to persuasion and theory of the case

  1. 1. Introduction to Persuasion Developing a Theory of the Case © Prof. Mathis Rutledge
  2. 2. Persuasion <ul><li>Learned skill – we all have </li></ul><ul><li>Movie appeal: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fairness – we saw your choice last time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Self-interest – Halle Berry’s in it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Desire to please you – I really want to see it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bargain – you choose next time </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. First thing <ul><li>Evaluate the case – what is your first impression? </li></ul><ul><li>Will help develop a theory </li></ul>
  4. 4. Switching from Objective to Persuasive <ul><li>First, stay objective </li></ul><ul><li>Each side will have a decent argument, know them both </li></ul><ul><li>Look at the law – objectively </li></ul>
  5. 5. Find the Factors <ul><li>Review precedent </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What factors did the court rely on to determine parties should prevail </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Was it related to policy, facts or procedure </li></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Confront the hard issues <ul><li>What issues will make a difference </li></ul><ul><li>What are the client’s persuasive points for the issue </li></ul><ul><li>What are the client’s weakest points </li></ul><ul><li>What are the strongest reasons for the client to win/opposing party </li></ul>
  7. 7. Theory of the Case <ul><li>Your story </li></ul><ul><li>Heart of advocacy </li></ul><ul><li>A lens </li></ul><ul><ul><li>City of Birmingham case </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Legal Theory – 2 parts <ul><li>Legal framework </li></ul><ul><li>Factual framework </li></ul>
  9. 9. Generally 2 types of arguments <ul><li>The facts come within a favorable rule of law </li></ul><ul><li>A new law (or interpretation of the law) is needed for public policy reasons </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasize facts that favor your client </li></ul>
  10. 10. Developing a Theory <ul><li>Must first know </li></ul><ul><li>- the law & </li></ul><ul><li>- the facts </li></ul><ul><li>“” </li></ul>
  11. 11. Lawyer like a salesman <ul><li>You must believe </li></ul><ul><li>Straight-face test </li></ul>
  12. 12. How to Develop a Theory <ul><li>Think outside the box </li></ul><ul><li>Study the evidence closely </li></ul><ul><li>Be willing to modify the theory </li></ul>
  13. 13. How to Develop a Theory <ul><li>Don’t forget your client – listen </li></ul><ul><li>Interact with your client </li></ul>
  14. 14. Using the Theory <ul><li>It should permeate the case </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Orally and in writing </li></ul></ul><ul><li>It should explain why your client should win & why your opponent is taking its position </li></ul>
  15. 15. Major Tool of Persuasion - words <ul><li>“The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is the difference between the lightning and the lightning-bug,&quot; - Mark Twain </li></ul><ul><li>Be a storyteller </li></ul><ul><li>Be compelling </li></ul>
  16. 16. Word choice <ul><li>Agent Dumb found the missing tapes while looking for party decorations </li></ul><ul><li>vs. </li></ul><ul><li>Agent Dumb finally stumbled upon the missing tapes while looking for party decorations </li></ul>
  17. 17. Word Choice <ul><li>The witness remembers the defendant outside the liquor store </li></ul><ul><li>vs. </li></ul><ul><li>The witness claims the defendant was outside the liquor store </li></ul>
  18. 18. Word Choice <ul><li>The Government wiretapped Defendant’s telephone. </li></ul><ul><li>The Government wiretapped Defendant’s home telephone. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Subtlety is important <ul><li>Don’t be a drama king/queen </li></ul><ul><li>The Government wiretapped one of Defendant’s most personal possessions, a possession he uses to discuss his private yearnings and reams, his home telephone. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Use Facts Persuasively <ul><li>Don’t just make conclusory statements </li></ul><ul><li>Use the facts to speak for themselves </li></ul><ul><li>The defendant is a lowlife </li></ul><ul><li>The defendant beat up his mother in a fit of rage </li></ul>
  21. 21. Persuading with the Facts <ul><li>The appellant has been treated barbarically. The conditions at the prison are inhumane. </li></ul><ul><li>The appellant has been treated well. The prison is safe and comfortable. </li></ul><ul><li>or </li></ul>
  22. 22. <ul><li>The conditions at the prison are barbaric and inhumane. For 23 hours every day, the appellant is confined to a cell six feet long by four feet wide, barely enough space for the single cot with broken springs, a cracked toilet, and a leaking sink that constitute virtually his entire universe. </li></ul>
  23. 23. <ul><li>The appellant has not been mistreated. Although his cell is smaller than the appellant would like, he is not required to share his space with other inmates. Moreover, his cell is larger than the per capita space allocated to inmates in 60 percent of the state prisons. The sink and toilet may be unaesthetic, but each works, and when the sink broke six months earlier, it was fixed the same day. </li></ul>
  24. 24. Effective Persuasion Means Knowing Your Audience <ul><li>Judge = generalist </li></ul><ul><li>Lawyers & judges = sophisticated readers and thinkers </li></ul><ul><li>Take into account common sense </li></ul><ul><li>Know what the readers know and don’t assume. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Spell out the pertinent information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide all the necessary facts about precedent & the client </li></ul></ul>
  25. 25. Principles of Persuasion <ul><li>Ethos, Pathos & Logos </li></ul><ul><li>or </li></ul><ul><li>Ethics, Emotion & Reason </li></ul>
  26. 26. Ethics <ul><li>Ethos – the reputation and character of a speaker/writer in an argument </li></ul><ul><li>Your credibility </li></ul>
  27. 27. Ethics – You Owe <ul><li>Your client – zealous advocacy </li></ul><ul><li>The court – candor </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You MUST disclose material facts & legal authority </li></ul></ul>
  28. 28. Emotion <ul><li>Pathos – the part of an argument which touches the emotions </li></ul><ul><li>Make the judge care who wins the case – but don’t over do it. Make the jury care who wins the case. </li></ul><ul><li>Hostility towards opposing counsel or other parties is always an inappropriate emotion </li></ul>
  29. 29. Reason <ul><li>Logos – the part of an argument consisting of evidence and the reasoning based directly on that evidence </li></ul><ul><li>Similar to Memo – analyze the law & apply it to the facts </li></ul><ul><li>Different from the memo – goal is to persuade </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Interpret the law & its application to require a favorable conclusion </li></ul></ul>
  30. 30. <ul><li>Unlike the memo </li></ul><ul><li>You must reach a conclusion – not probably yes or no </li></ul><ul><li>Tell the court how the law should be interpreted : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“the provision of statute x must override those of statute y because x is more specific to the subject matter of this dispute.” </li></ul></ul>
  31. 31. <ul><li>Always explain away the points against you </li></ul><ul><li>Ignoring opposing arguments will diminish </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Your credibility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>And the strength of your argument </li></ul></ul>
  32. 32. Be A Storyteller <ul><li>“ [t]he practice of law is not a law school examination. You get no extra credit for citing every decision or making every argument. . . .Second, the story is at the heart of the entire legal process. Opening statements, direct examination, cross-examination, and final arguments are all stories. So are motions, applications, and appeals. Every argument is a story, and every lawyer is a storyteller.” – James W. McElhaney, Trial Notebook (3 rd ed.) </li></ul>
  33. 33. Becoming a good storyteller <ul><li>More than the facts or a chronology </li></ul><ul><li>A story is the account of an event </li></ul>
  34. 34. The Elements of a Story <ul><li>1. Stories have beginnings and endings – you decide (ignore sequence of events; focus on your main point) </li></ul><ul><li>2. Stories have characters. Make them come alive </li></ul><ul><li>3. Something happens – the key to it all. How and why something happened. </li></ul>
  35. 35. Ethics of a good storyteller <ul><li>Don’t create facts or invent evidence, but </li></ul><ul><li>Arrange and present the facts in a way to promote your theory and story. </li></ul>
  36. 36. Conflicting Narratives in Walker <ul><li>Review the first two paragraphs and the last </li></ul><ul><li>Accurate </li></ul>