News

The Plaintiff Lawyer’s Playbook Book Review

Reviewed by Brandon Lacy Originally published in the summer 2020 issue of The Docket, the quarterly publication from the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association.  I have heard many attorneys remark that law school teaches us to think like a lawyer but does not actually prepare us for the daily practice of law.  Like many ATLA members, I was blessed with tremendous opportunities for learning how to practice law at the beginning of my career.  After graduating law school, I began my career with a defense firm in Little Rock where I was tasked initially with a heavy load of pleadings-related practice and,...

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Educating the Trial Lawyer

Written by David Rosenthal, CCTLA First Vice President Originally published in the Fall 2020 issue of The Litigator, a quarterly magazine from the Capitol City Trial Lawyers Association. When it comes to learning to be a trial lawyer, nothing is more valuable than actually trying cases. But sometimes, for instance during a pandemic, it’s all but impossible to get in front of a jury to try a case or even to attend a trial skills seminar. In these times, learning trial skills is more about reading some of the many good practice guide books or attending virtual seminars. There are too...

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The Plaintiff Lawyer’s Playbook

Reviewed by Nicole Gainey Originally published in the September 2020 issue of Trial News, the monthly publication from the Washington State Association for Justice.  Elden Rosenthal is a Pacific Northwest treasure and his Playbook—a succinct yet compassionate beginner’s treatise on the practice of plaintiff’s law—is a bountiful gift to our bar.  Rosenthal is a long-time Portland, Oregon attorney and an avid fly-fisherman. He claims inspiration for The Plaintiffs’ Playbook was derived from two sources, one being The Curtis Creek Manifesto, An Introduction and Guide to Fly Fishing by Sheridan Anderson. In the introduction to his book, Rosenthal states that for him, The Curtis Creek Manifesto was a principle source of guidance...

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A ‘Brutally Honest’ Approach to Voir Dire and Opening Statements

Reviewed by J. Nate Bingham Originally published in the June 2020 issue of Trial News, the monthly publication from the Washington State Association for Justice.  I will never forget my first time conducting voir dire as a Rule 9 intern. Although I Googled "voir dire" the night before, I had never seen it happen until I had to get up and do it. It went just as poorly as you would expect—I awkwardly asked a bunch of questions while the jurors avoided making eye contact and did their best not to get called on. When it was finally time to exercise peremptory challenges, I had lost track...

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From Hostage to Hero Book Review

Reviewed by Jason Skuda Originally published in the July/August 2020 issue of Trial News, the monthly publication from the Washington State Association for Justice.  “Jurors are, for all intents and purposes, hostages.” This concept begins Sari de la Motte’s advice on approaching jury trials. As hostages, jurors are the trial’s first of two “victims.” They arrive unhappy, discombobulated, and, more often than not, scared. The plaintiff’s lawyer must free the jurors by creating a safe space for jurors to express themselves in voir dire and to act on the plaintiff’s behalf when they deliberate. To do this, Mr. or Ms. Lawyer, you...

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