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Trial Guides Points the Way

Originally published on the Trial Guides blog June 16, 2009

by J. Michael Conley, republished with permission of the Massachusetts Academy Journal

Fighting a case of Old Dog Syndrome, and hoping to win a few more trials, I have started going to more seminars, reading more books, watching more video—trying to get beyond "the law" and generic trial techniques, and focusing specifically on how to win plaintiffs’ personal injury trials. It soon became apparent that a new publishing company predominates this niche, publishing and distributing some of today’s most important plaintiffs’ trial materials—Trial Guides.

Trial Guides describes itself as "a new, cutting edge, legal media company dedicated solely to helping civil plaintiffs win." The company’s website declares, "Plaintiff’s law is our passion—we want to help you and the people you serve." In other words, Trial Guides is for us!

Trial Guides, based in Portland Oregon, started in 2003 with Aaron DeShaw’s book Colossus: What Every Trial Lawyer Needs to Know. Since that time the company has focused only on creating and distributing products for plaintiff trial lawyers (in some instances actually restricting sales to lawyers who represent plaintiffs only). A review of the Trial Guides’ catalogue tells us that in a short time the company has greatly advanced its mission.

David Ball on Damages—which some say revolutionized the courtroom for plaintiffs’ attorneys—is absolutely essential and available through Trial Guides in book or audio, as are other David Ball books, CDs and DVDs concerning courtroom trial practice, jury research and focus groups.

Rick Friedman’s must-read trilogy—Rules of the Road (with Patrick Malone), Polarizing the Case, and Becoming a Trial Lawyer, are all published by Trial Guides.

Friedman says, "Trial Guides is doing what no other publisher has ever done—bringing the best advocacy books and writers under one roof. This company has repeatedly demonstrated its commitment to helping plaintiff lawyers win cases. For that, we should all be grateful." Indeed, the catalogue is filled with books and video presentations from accomplished trial lawyers like Paul Luvera (Paul Luvera on Trial Strategy), Don Keenan (Representing the Faces of the Future), Gerry Spence ( Day with Gerry Spence and Paul Luvera) and Jim Perdue (Winning With Stories), as well as from nationally known experts such as trial consultant Eric Oliver (Persuasive Communications), and forensic consultant Dr. Michael D. Freeman (From Good Hands to Boxing Gloves). Deciding what to read or see or hear next is becoming a challenge.

And they have Moe Levine! Moe Levine! Rick Friedman suggests "A trial lawyer who has not read Moe Levine is like a poet who has not read Shakespeare. You may get the job done, but you are missing out on joy and inspiration—and are not truly educated." Moe Levine’s books are out of print, and are like gold if you can find them at all. For example, as I write this in early May, second hand copies of The Best of Moe: Summations (237 pages) are listed for sale on line with prices ranging from $890 for the 1967 edition to $695 for a 1983 reprint. The Trial Guides book, Moe Levine on Advocacy, is the most complete collection of Moe Levine’s teachings ever published. Meanwhile, the presently available Moe Levine: The Historic Recordings, allows us to experience on CD some of Levine’s lectures to trial lawyers forty years ago. His sample closing arguments are breathtaking.

Trial Guides advises that upcoming publications include more from Robert Hall with grief therapist Mila Tecala (Grief and Loss), and a re-release of Bill Barton’s Recovering for Psychological Injuries.

Significantly, Trial Guides does more than sell books, audio, and DVDs. The company works constructively with AAJ, organizes CLE seminars and webinars, and plans to provide an on-line community "to supplement your participation in AAJ."

The website is www.trialguides.com. Check it out.

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