They came. They saw. They convened.
This past week in Charlotte, some 50,000 politicians, celebrities, reporters , lobbyists and protesters were in town for the 2012 Democratic National Convention. By most accounts, the Convention did both the Democrats and the city of Charlotte a lot of good.
The Republicans had their big soiree in Tampa the week before, of course, and it may be that I am looking at this schedule like a trial attorney, but I think it’s been a HUGE advantage for the Democrats to go last. In most civil trials, so powerful is the last argument that the best trial lawyers I know will often strategically maneuver to get it.
Under the Civil Procedure rules in North Carolina, the plaintiff usually gets the last chance to speak to the jury, BUT an exception occurs when the defendant chooses not to put on any evidence of its own. I’ve seen many a trial where a wily defense counsel has chosen not to introduce evidence, even if it might be moderately helpful, in order to have the last word.
So from a strategic standpoint, much of the language from Time Warner Arena was a response to the assertions made in Tampa.
For me personally, the most informative and cogent speech was in many ways like a jury argument in and of itself. Of course, I referring to President Clinton’s nominating speech on Wednesday evening (which I was fortunate to see live, albeit from the cheap seats). Granted, this “jury argument” was in front 20,000 screaming Democrats, and broadcast to millions more, but that just makes his communication and persuasive techniques all the more remarkable.
It’s been said by more than one lawyer that often the best persuasion is simply education. Point out the favorable facts. Compare them with the unfavorable facts of the opposing view. Preview what’s coming; summarize what you’ve said. Rather than telling jurors what to conclude, lead them to a conclusion that THEY can make.
UPDATE Thurs 9.27.2012 –
And just yesterday I sent out my periodic newsletter MEDIATION MINUTE to various insurers, plaintiff attorneys and defense counsel sharing some of these same thoughts, and how they might relate to opening presentations at mediations. Again, just click to check it out.