Case Framing

Mark S. Mandell
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  • Table of Contents
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  • Praise for Case Framing

  1. In depositions, focus groups, mediations, and trials, [the Case Framing method] provides a blueprint for building a case that a jury can believe in and vote for. The premise underlying everything in this book is this: just verdicts result when everything presented at trial is framed and sequenced to focus juror attention on the points you most want to make. Your case is about what you focus it on. Focus the jury’s attention on what actually matters. —Mark Mandell, Case Framing, "Introduction"

In Case Framing, attorney Mark Mandell draws from his forty-year career of multimillion-dollar verdicts to share his proven method that he’s used to help countless numbers of plaintiffs. Working from the premise that a jury’s verdict is guided by the issues it “just can’t get over,” Mandell has built an elegant three-part method for obtaining just verdicts for clients that focuses on the following:

  1. The fundamental truth that defines the essence of your case
  2. The vital issues your jury won’t be able to get over
  3. How to echo those issues throughout trial to keep your jury focused

Mandell demonstrates how to apply his universal techniques to any case by presenting a broad range of examples from auto-accident and dram shop to medical malpractice cases. He walks you through a detailed case study; illustrating how each element of the Case Framing method applies to each part of a case, from pretrial preparation to closing argument and the jury’s verdict form. Mandell also uses transcripts and other examples to show how readers can use the Case Framing method to succeed in depositions, settlement and mediation negotiations, cases with multiple defendants, and cases where the opposing party has admitted liability in an attempt to reduce your ability to obtain a just verdict.

For any trial attorney, new or veteran, Case Framing is a must-read book that shows how to focus your jury on what’s most important: the key issues that empower them to grant full justice for your client.

  1. Foreword
  2. Introduction
  3. Part I: The Case Framing Method
  4. Case Frames
  5. I-Just-Can’t-Get-Over Issues
  6. Presenting Your I-Just-Can’t-Get-Over Issues to the Jury
  7. Case Frame Logistics
  8. Presenting Your Case Frame to the Jury
  9. How to Deal with Bad I-Just-Can’t-Get-Over Issues
  10. Echoing Your I-Just-Can’t-Get-Over Issues Throughout Trial
  11. Case Framing and Depositions
  12. Case Framing in Mediation and Settlement Negotiations
  13. Case Framing and the Admitted Liability Case
  14. Part II: A Case Study: Jones v. Smith
  15. Background
  16. How We Identified the Good Issues Relevant to Liability
  17. Motions in Limine
  18. Voir Dire
  19. Opening Statement
  20. How We Used Echoes Throughout the Trial
  21. Identifying Our Overall Case Frame
  22. Closing Argument
  23. On Being a Trial Lawyer

Additional Information

Publisher Trial Guides, LLC, AAJ
Paperback 210 pages; 1st edition (2015); ISBN: 978-1941007419
  1. The evolution of trial advocacy has reached a new level with Mark Mandell’s new book, Case Framing. It stands alongside the other legendary works of wisdom for trial lawyers such as Rick Friedman and Pat Malone’s Rules of the Road and Don Keenan and David Ball’s Reptile.

    The concept of a ‘case theme’ has long been a fundamental concept of courtroom persuasion; but Mark takes it, turns it on its head, and gives readers a new perspective. His book addresses the concept of theme within a new context of evidence the jury ‘just can’t get over.’ Put another way, the jury’s ‘a-ah’ moment. He takes the reader through every stage of a trial, from preparation to jury selection, opening statement, the presentation of evidence, and closing argument, incorporating his concept of framing the case in its most persuasive form at each step. Multiple real trial examples further the educational benefit of this master’s teachings.

    Lawyers will want to read this masterful work more than once to get its full impact. It is an encyclopedic presentation of the art of trial advocacy.

    As a professor of trial advocacy and storytelling at the University of Houston Law Center, I will recommend it to all of my students and encourage them to get it not only for their advocacy courses, but also for their future practice as trial attorneys.
    —Jim Perdue, member of the Inner Circle of Advocates and author of Winning with Stories

  2. After twenty-five years of litigating cases, I thought I knew it all. Then I read this book and highlighted dozens of tips for improving my case preparation and trial strategies. Mandell skillfully mixes sage wisdom like ‘your case is about what you focus it on’ with innovative new ideas such as not telling a jury the overall case frame until closing argument. This book is equally powerful for both the brand new lawyer and the very experienced litigator.
    —Zoe Littlepage, member of the Inner Circle of Advocates, and named one of America’s premier lawyers by Fortune and American Lawyer
  3. Our continual struggle is for better and better ways to focus our jurors logically and emotionally right where we want them. Mark Mandell’s major advancement will interlock perfectly with whatever other advocacy methods you use. Jurors will thank you for making their job so much easier; clients will thank your results for making their lives so much more livable. With Case Framing, leading trial lawyer Mark Mandell becomes a leading inspiration and guide.
    —David Ball, trial consultant and author of David Ball on Damages
  4. Revolutionary! This book is a treasure in teaching trial lawyers a useful and thoughtful method of understanding how jurors think. I salute Mark for his dedication and for providing an innovative, insightful, must-read book.
    —James Bartimus, past president of the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys and the Missouri Institute for Justice
  5. As a trial lawyer, I stand in awe of Mark’s intuition, skill, and honesty in preparing and trying cases. In this powerful book, he shares his love of the law and his knowledge in guiding us in how to help those we represent. A must-read, this is a book of inspiration, hope, and courage in pursuing justice.
    —Greg Cusimano, past president of the Alabama Trial Lawyers Association and member of the American Board of Trial Advocates
  6. Mark Mandell explains an ingenious and practical approach to theme development he calls framing. Drawing from years of experience before a jury and from his brilliant career, Mandell provides a simple approach to identifying and responding to key issues in every case. His application of decision science will prove an enormous contribution to trial advocacy. No trial lawyer, beginner or accomplished, should stand up in front of a jury without reading Mark Mandell’s Case Framing.
    —Mark Davis, past president of the Inner Circle of Advocates and adjunct professor at the University of Hawaii Law School
  7. Case Framing is a sophisticated, insightful, and practical manual that will help every trial lawyer. No matter your experience or the type of case involved, Mandell’s method will elevate your skill level and benefit every client’s cause. I just can’t get over how one book could so dramatically impact how I prepare and try a case.
    —Patrick Dunphy, past president of the Wisconsin Association for Justice and member of the Inner Circle of Advocates
  8. Just when I thought after thirty-five years as a trial lawyer I didn’t have much to learn, I read Mark Mandell’s fine work, Case Framing. Mark’s practical theories are presented in a compelling order—don’t skip a page! It will change your thinking about sequencing your proof and preparing your case. Mark illustrates lessons of restraint, discipline, and subtlety with transcript excerpts, which prove the power of these underused weapons in your arsenal. Thank you Mark for helping us all be better advocates.
    —Elizabeth Faiella, member of the Inner Circle of Advocates and named in Super Lawyers
  9. From one of the country’s leading trial lawyers comes a book chock-full of ideas, tactics, and inspiration. Reading this book, the experienced trial lawyer will grow and improve. The novice will re-read this book numerous times, learning more with each reading.
    —Rick Friedman, coauthor of Rules of the Road and past president of the Inner Circle of Advocates
  10. Politicians are keenly aware of the importance of framing issues, but trial lawyers have been slow to appreciate the critical importance of this in their cases. Now we have a book that clearly explains the why it is so important. Mandell fully explores the subject and provides practical examples of how to do it right. This is a must-own book for any trial lawyer.
    —Paul Luvera, member emeritus of the Inner Circle of Advocates, listed in Best Lawyers in America
  11. Legendary trial lawyers know how to pull the case’s beating heart out of a jumbled tangle of facts. Mark Mandell’s innovative new book teaches you how to identify the best and worst elements of your client’s story and then, to dig down to the very soul of the case. Case Framing will help you become a master storyteller who can move a jury to justice.
    —Randi McGinn, member of the Inner Circle of Advocates and author of Changing Laws, Saving Lives
  12. Mark’s text Case Framing will serve as a powerful resource for new and experienced trial lawyers alike. Mark masterfully weaves his wealth of experience as a trial lawyer with principles from neuroscience and psychology to provide specific advice on how to successfully pursue justice for one’s client. This book should be read and reread often!
    —Kathleen Flynn Peterson, fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and past president of the Minnesota Association for Justice
  13. Mark Mandell’s Case Framing is a brilliant distillation of the principles that lie behind successful advocacy: preparation, sensitivity, simple thematics, honesty, humility, and passion. Combined with Mark Mandell’s knowledge gained in four decades as one of America’s great trial lawyers, along with his application of principles of psychology, this book is a how-to for advocates of all experience levels. It’s a must-read!
    —Shanin Specter, member of the Inner Circle of Advocates and featured in Super Lawyers
  14. Some folks call it point of vision (POV), other folks call it billboarding or bumperstickering, I call it the Reptile trifecta, and Mark calls it Case Framing. Everyone who has used the technique knows it works. Fellow Inner Circle member Mark has added a new twist, the ‘I cannot get over’ concept.
    —Don Keenan, author of Reptile and member of the Inner Circle of Advocates
  15. For more than thirty years, I have been trying cases and teaching trial advocacy to law students and trial lawyers. Like many of you, I have been searching for a bible to ensure success. Mark Mandell’s Case Framing is the perfect guide. If you want to achieve the success that your client deserves, read this book. It is one of the best trial advocacy books I have ever read.
    —Ben Rubinowitz, member of the Inner Circle of Advocates and past president of the American Board of Trial Advocates
  16. Case Framing should be in the library of every trial lawyer looking to perfect his or her trial presentation. Mark hits the bull’s-eye as Case Framing gets to the core values of jurors across the spectrum.
    —Todd Smith, past president of the American Association for Justice and member of the Inner Circle of Advocates
  17. Mark Mandell’s Case Framing is a majestic journey through a new level of innovative strategies and tactics, strewn with cutting-edge working steps and breathtaking approaches to helping clients obtain full justice. When you combine the thought processes of one of the greatest courtroom advocates in America with his hundreds of ideas, concepts, and hot tips, you get a win-win and must-read for every personal injury lawyer.
    —John Romano, past president of the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers, the Southern Trial Lawyers Association, and the National Trial Lawyers Association

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