Over the course of their careers, Nicholas Rowley, Courtney Rowley, and Dr. Wendy Saxon have worked on over a thousand jury trials and obtained over a billion dollars in settlements and verdicts. In Voir Dire & Opening Statement, they use annotated excerpts of successful voir dire transcripts and opening statements to teach you the tools they use to win just outcomes for their clients.
In part one of their book, Nicholas Rowley and Courtney Rowley provide insights and strategies for successfully selecting the best jury for your client’s case. They address how they deal with their own fears and trepidations, and challenge preconceived ideas about how to connect with and empower each juror to deliver a just verdict. You will learn how to put important case issues front and center in voir dire, and how to get potential jurors to excuse themselves for cause on an inability to be fair and impartial.
In part two, Dr. Wendy Saxon discusses practical strategies for understanding small group dynamics and juror body language, collecting and disseminating personal information, and identifying jurors who will be good for your case. Dr. Saxon examines juror questionnaires and courtroom worksheets and shows how you can use them to identify bias and ways to structure them to help avoid objections from the defense and judge. Dr. Saxon offers strategies for selecting jurors when you are not allowed voir dire at all, and for when you are severely limited on time. She also discusses perspectives and scenarios on juror rehabilitation and offers a fully annotated jury questionnaire that is included in the appendix.
In part three, Nicholas Rowley and Courtney Rowley teach the Trial by Human approach to creating and delivering a winning opening statement. They discuss identifying your theme, being brutally honest about the good-bad-ugly of your case, simplifying complex terminology, using visuals and the importance of telling a story that jurors can visualize, sequencing your opening to capture jurors’ attention, bringing noneconomic damages to life, using jury instructions to discuss damages, dealing with objections, addressing expert testimony, how to effectively follow your opening statement with your first witness, and building credibility to further develop the human connections you need to win. The authors also provide annotated excerpts from successful opening statements to demonstrate how you can start applying their lessons to your next case.
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1 Being Brutally Honest with Yourself
2 Making Your Cases Personal
Part 1 Voir Dire: Trial by Human
3 Connecting with Jurors
4 A Fair Fight
5 Talking about Money
6 Shifting Noneconomic Damages from Grief into Celebration
7 The Line between Preconditioning and Discovering Biases
Part 2 Voir Dire: Selecting Jurors Wisely
8 Setting the Stage
9 Understanding Small-Group Dynamics
10 Understanding Body Language
11 Using Jury Questionnaires
12 Maximizing the Courtroom Worksheet
13 Lessons from the Dark Side
14 Selecting Jurors with Brief or No Voir Dire
15 Dealing with Improperly Denied Cause Challenges
Part 3 Opening Statement: Trial by Human
16 Your Toolbox
17 Sequencing Your Story
18 Bringing the Story to Life
19 Destroying the Defense(s)
Appendix A: Jury Questionnaire
About the Authors
What Legal Leaders Are Saying
— Rick Friedman, past president of the Inner Circle of Advocates and coauthor of Rules of the Road: A Plaintiff’s Guide to Proving Liability
A far-ranging discussion of voir dire and opening statement by three of the most accomplished experts on modern trial practice. Stimulating ideas in every chapter.
— Roxanne Barton Conlin, past president of the American Association for Justice and member of the Inner Circle of Advocates
This is the essential book on the two most important aspects of jury trial. Courtney and Nick show us, rather than tell us, how to get a jury who can hear what we have to say. They then explain how to say what helps the jury to understand what amount of money is needed to balance the scales of justice. The authors provide thorough explanations of the concepts that they use and recommend. Like Nick and Courtney's other books, this one is rich with real life examples and even a carefully annotated successful opening statement. Wendy Saxon brings a fresh and expansive perspective based on her decades of experience as a jury consultant and trial strategist. She has participated in more than 1,000 trials, mostly on the other side. Now that she is exclusively on our side, she shares her deep knowledge about group dynamics and individual roles. Get this book, read it, and live it.
— David Ball, trial consultant at Malekpour & Ball and author of David Ball on Damages
Two sleepless nights! Why? This damn book. Too much of the best practical advice in print for me to sleep until I’d digested it. Easily followed strategies, and some that’re harder so you'll have to practice. The book is a wide window into how and why the Rowleys are at the top of the profession. Only a few books are essential re-reads with each new case; this one instantly ranks in that rarified category. Nick and Courtney are joined by consultant Wendy Saxon’s substantial wisdom and sharp specifics for voir dire. No matter your preferred brand of advocacy, this will make you far better at it. Rx: Read at your leisure—or in two sleepless nights. You'll wake up inspired, and ready for the defense.
— Artemis Malekpour, trial consultant at Malekpour & Ball
Wonderfully woven words with such lovely storytelling, I kept forgetting I was technically reading for work and not pleasure. Integrating their cases and clients with the lessons they’re teaching, this team of three demonstrates why they are a powerful force for good, and why they are so valuable to the plaintiff’s side. What we learn is how to make that human connection—with techniques and exercises to try—along with why that’s so important. And with that brutal honesty that’s synonymous with the Rowley name, Courtney and Nick include some tough love that lawyers need to hear if they are to seek full justice and fair compensation for their clients. Meanwhile, Wendy generously shares the vast knowledge she’s gained from both sides of the aisle and what makes her work as a jury consultant and trial strategist so trusted and cherished by the Rowleys. A must-have for your legal library… and your human life.
— Benjamin R. Novotny, Massachusetts Lawyer of the Year 2018, Massachusetts Super Lawyer
This seems like a worn-out refrain—but thank you Nick and Courtney for your Brutal Honesty. You demonstrate that all of us can continually improve as trial lawyers. Don’t just read this book—study it, digest it, and practice it. It will make you a better trial attorney and a better human.
— Stephen Glass, director of special projects (not a lawyer) at Carpenter, Zuckerman & Rowley
I met Wendy Saxon for the first time when she was working for the other side. I said to myself, we cannot let that happen again. We must work with her. Lawyers across the country rightly recognize that Nick and Courtney have fundamentally transformed voir dire. Rather than shy away from difficult prospective jurors, Wendy, Nick, and Courtney teach you how to embrace the many gifts [these jurors] provide you. Once you put their techniques into practice, you won’t fear the hostile juror, you’ll hope for them. You’ll recognize that you need them. This book—and their work—turns everything you know about jury selection on its head.