One of the highlights of Trial Guides’ recent Take Back the Courtroom IV was an evening lecture by Nick Rowley. He discussed how he has obtained over $500 million in jury verdicts before age forty by personally connecting with his juries and being honest about weaknesses in his cases.
One of his key points was that connecting with your jury is important to obtaining larger case outcomes. In a recent case against a large retail store, Rowley asked his jury to be honest with him—to be “brutally honest” with him. Rowley discussed this in voir dire by introducing his concept of brutal honesty and engaged the jury in a frank and open conversation regarding issues in the case.
Below is a short example from the voir dire transcript:
MR. ROWLEY: Brutal honesty, brutal honesty, what do those words mean? What does that
phrase mean to you, brutal honesty?
MR. C.: To tell the truth, regardless of who you’re hurting.
MR. ROWLEY: Mr. C.?
MR. C.: Yes.
MR. ROWLEY: To tell the truth?
MR. C.: Regardless of the feelings of the people that you’re telling it to.
MR. ROWLEY: Thank you. Who else?
MS. R.: To tell the truth regardless of what everyone thinks.
MR. ROWLEY: Ms. R. Who else?
MS. B.: To tell the truth no matter what the outcome might be for yourself.
MR. ROWLEY: Anyone else? Mr. P.?
MR. P.: I 100 percent agree with pretty much everybody. No matter what I think, that’s what I feel honestly.
MR. ROWLEY: As we start talking, if you all would promise to be brutally honest, it would mean a lot to all of us, even if you think, boy, that will hurt my feelings. Let me have it. Tell me. I really need to know how you all feel about different things[....]
To be brutally honest, the questions I was really looking at, since this is a case where negligence is already—that’s not something you have to decide. In some civil cases, you have to decide well, was somebody negligent? Did somebody do something wrong in order to talk about the money issue, which is what is the only thing you can pursue in a civil case. Civil case is civil rights, money justice. That’s the only thing you can go for.
You have to prove negligence first. That’s not something we have to do here. [Defense counsel] has acknowledged this is a case of 100 percent negligence against [the defendant]. Done. That case is closed. Everyone with me on that? So the question that I’m looking at is, since this is a case where my job is to—I represent [my client]. Here’s what happened to him. Here’s the amount of money.
That is civil justice for whatever the evidence proves. My interest in those questions was how do you feel about giving money in a lawsuit and signing your name to that—medical bills, lost wages, even if those come up to be many millions of dollars, if the evidence justifies it. Does anyone have any problem with that?
MR. ROWLEY: Mr. L.?
MR. L.: Yeah?
MR. ROWLEY: Paycheck losses, medical bills to pay medical providers, past, future, whatever it amounts to, do you have any hesitation?
MR. L.: No.
MR. ROWLEY: Why not?
MR. L.: As long as it’s proved that he deserves what he’s going to get.
Rowley used his Trial by Human method to engage with the jury in void dire and lay the groundwork so he could connect with them during his opening statement. The case settled for an undisclosed sum after opening statements.
In Jury Selection & Opening Statements Nick Rowley discusses how to use his brutal honesty concept and how you can apply it to case selection, voir dire, and opening statement. The presenters also provide demonstrations on how to apply the method with a sample opening from a medical malpractice case and two sample jury selections.
Click here or the link below to learn more about how Nick Rowley's Jury Selection & Opening Statements can help you.