How Do Trial Methods Impact Settlement?

Trial Guides has conducted interviews with several of our authors regarding ways their trial methods impact settlement. This interview with authors Joane Garcia- Colson, Fredilyn Sison, and Mary Peckham focuses on the ways in which psychodrama impacts settlement using the methods in their book: Trial in Action.

Even though it’s called Trial in Action, it’s a method you can use to discover and edit your story so that it is the most persuasive for whomever the decision-maker is. It could be a mediator, lawyer, claims adjustor, or a judge ruling on a motion. The tools in this book help you inhabit the skin of the others in the story, so you get the best impact from your decision-maker.

 This method is a whole new way of looking at cases. It’s not simply about trial. Trial is one possible manifestation of a case. There are many other mechanisms to resolve a case. You can use this tool in any venue: mediation, settlement negotiation, with judges, or in front of a claims adjustor. Don't give up heart. Go ahead and try these things. You’ll be amazed. 

Another by-product of the Trial in Action method is that it will improve relations with your clients. Clients are generally not happy- they want to be heard and validated. If you use these methods, [your] clients will be happier. They want to be heard and they will feel that you understood them and are doing the best you can.

We’ve had a lot of younger lawyers in our offices. They think their job is to do the law, but then they are amazed when the clients aren’t happy.

Part of what happens is that clients have unrealistic expectations. Clients think we’re magicians. We’re not- we know that. By reversing roles with our clients, really seeing the world as they see it, we can better answer their questions and make sure they know we understand what they want.

A model case isn’t life. What this book does is give you a more realistic approach to law than what you’re going to get in school. It’s a humanistic approach. Real cases and real people are messy and complicated. This book helps you deal with that.

People say to us, “I wish I’d known this twenty years ago. I’d be happier and my clients would be happier.” Clients can feel it when you are right there with them.

Some lawyers just want to know: “What do I do to win this case?” This book examines all other aspects of your life so you can perform better. This book isn’t just about one case, it’s about how you view and work with all your cases so you can have a better practice and a better life.


Trial In Action
The Persuasive Power of Psychodrama
Joane Garcia-Colson, Fredilyn Sison & Mary Peckham