On Political Conventions and Jury Arguments

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 –

Earlier this month, I sent out one my periodic newsletters LEGAL TRENDS, ODDS AND ENDS, with a lot of these same thoughts. Check it out.

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.


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About Mike Daisley - Civil Litigation Attorney, Mediator, Writer, Licensed Lay Preacher (Episcopal Church, Diocese of North Carolina)

Mike Daisley is a civil litigation attorney and Certified Mediator in Charlotte, North Carolina, and owner and president of "DaisleyLegal" a virtual law firm focused on helping victims of drunk driving injuries and other careless individuals and corporations. He devotes a significant time of his practice as a mediator in North Carolina's Superior Courts, using his 35 years of litigation experience to counsel and assist opposing parties to resolve their disputes and lawsuits cooperatively, avoiding the high expenses and time commitments involved in going to trial. In addition to his commitment to Civil Trial Advocacy and Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mike is also an avid writer, and has a wide array of interests outside of his legal practice, including stints as a columnist for The Charlotte Observer, political analyst for WCNC-TV and WBT Radio. Mike’s biggest passion outside the law is learning and writing about theology, and especially the role doubt plays in faith, the role faith plays (or should play) in politics, and (as he puts it) the “beauty and deep mystery” of the liturgy. Mike is a lifelong Episcopalian, and often jokes that means "I am a raging agnostic at least two or three days a week.” In 2019, he was appointed by the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina as a licensed Lay Preacher in the Episcopal Church. (A sample of Mike’s preaching can be heard here: http://www.stmartins-charlotte.org/content.cfm?id=2245&download_id=269#attached_content) To discuss the possibility of teaching, lecture, sermon or interview requests (or to make any comments or suggestions about the “WithGladness” blog) you may contact Mike at any Office email : Mike@DaisleyLegal.com Personal email: MikeDaisley@outlook.com Office voicemail: (704) 554-2306 Mike Daisley & Associates, LLC 1515 Mockingbird Lane, Suite 400 Charlotte, North Carolina 28209
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