Twelve Heroes, One Voice

Guiding Jurors to Courageous Verdicts

Carl Bettinger
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  • Customer Reviews (2)

What happens in a trial when you make the jurors care? You get a Verdict with a capital "V." Twelve Heroes, One Voice shows you how to make your jurors care through the art of storytelling. Author Carl Bettinger presents the 'hero-centric' story, and explains why jurors are pre-programmed to understand information in this format. You'll transform yourself into the mentor, the defendant into the villain, the plaintiff's struggle into the jury's challenge and the jury into the heroes of the story. Through Bettinger's hero-centric storytelling methods, you'll understand how to show the jurors that they must be the heroes, and "save the day" with a verdict that speaks not just for your client, but for humanity at large.

Filled with a plethora of actual transcript and easy-to-understand examples, Bettinger takes you through opening, in which you define the story roles of everyone in the courtroom, through direct- and cross-exam, which further the character development roles in your story, to closing, in which you show the jurors that they are the only ones who can write the conclusion to the story and save the day. You'll discover the difference between a case and a story, and learn how to find the point of view in your stories that will appeal to a jury.

This masterpiece on storytelling concludes with a series of story-creating exercises to help get your brain thinking in terms of "story" instead of "case," and to get your creative juices flowing. Make your next jury the hero and get your Verdict with a capital "V" by following Bettinger's storytelling advice.

  1. Introduction
  2. Biases, Codes, Rules, and Reptiles: The Search for a Unified Theory
  3. Story Structure
  4. Much Ado About Story
  5. Hero-centric Characters in the Courtroom
  6. Finding, and Showing, the Stories
  7. Voir Dire: The New World
  8. Opening: Building Your Story
  9. Direct- and Cross-Examination
  10. Closing: Do You Want a Song, or a Hit?
  11. Final Thoughts
  12. Appendix: Story Exercises

Additional Information

Publisher Trial Guides, LLC
Paperback 188 pages; 1st edition (2011); ISBN: 978-1941007372

10/4/2012 — Helping Heroes
Reviewed by Kathleen Nastri, in Trial magazine (October 2012)

Trial lawyers committed to their craft will be taken to the next level by Twelve Heroes, One Voice: Guiding Jurors to Courageous Verdicts. Carl Bettinger’s book acknowledges some of the best resources on trial practice and then takes another step. He shows us how to use our storytelling skills and passion to make convincing presentations and win jurors’ hearts. Continued »

9/18/2012 — Twelve Heroes, One Voice
Reviewed by Brandon J. Baxter, Esq., in the Utah Trial Journal (September 2012)

In the studio, pop artists may ask themselves if they want to simply record a “song” or if they want a “hit.” As trial attorneys, the question is do we want a “verdict” or do we want a “Verdict” (with a “capital V”). Carl Bettinger, the author of Twelve Heroes, One Voice: Guiding Jurors to Courageous Verdicts is a trial attorney from Albuquerque, NM who certainly has some Verdicts to his name. In a 2007 trial against a nursing home, the jury awarded Bettinger’s client $54 million. After a 2009 trial against a group home, the jury came back with a $54.1 million for Bettinger’s client. When a trial attorney with these results speaks, it certainly justifies sitting up and listening — that is if you are interested in Verdicts. Continued »

7/20/2012 — Twelve Heroes, One Voice
Reviewed by Scott Glovsky, in The Advocate magazine (July 2012)

As trial lawyers, we are storytellers. Most law schools, however, do not offer classes in storytelling. Yet storytelling is our business. So how do you tell a story at trial? And how do you tell a story when the defense successfully objects to your questions? Or, when the judge stops you from introducing evidence central to your theory of the case? Or, when you have 11 tort-reformers on your jury? How do you tell a story so that a jury will follow, understand and feel it, and set aside their biases and be empowered to do justice? Continued »

7/5/2012 — The True Heroes in the Courtroom
Reviewed by Kenneth H. Levinson, in Trial magazine (Summer 2012)

As trial lawyers, we are inundated with books, articles, seminars, and even apps to help us present our cases better. Many of us even study “non lawyer” books on cognitive science, decision-making, storytelling, and metaphors to improve our skills. There are mountains of information covering broad expanses of subjects, so how do we choose what to read given our limited time? Well, I recently finished a fantastic book by one of the best trial lawyers in the country, Carl Bettinger. Every lawyer who presents his or her client’s case to a jury should read Twelve Heroes, One Voice. Continued »

Short reviews
  1. This isn’t another book of generalities. It is a book with a detailed outline and clear examples for presenting your case by making the jurors the hero of your client’s story.
    —Paul Luvera; Trial Lawyer of the Year, The American Board of Trial Advocates, Washington Chapter; past president of the Inner Circle of Advocates

  2. This book provides the magic sword and armor to transform jurors from ordinary people into heroes and sheroes empowered to make our communities safer through their verdicts. It may even help you find the hero in yourself.
    —Randi McGinn; listed in Best Lawyers in America; University of New Mexico Women’s Law Caucus Recipient of the 2005 Justice Mary Walters Award; member of the Inner Circle of Advocates

  3. I have tried several hundred serious criminal jury trials. I thought there was little new to learn in persuading juries, yet I devoured Carl’s book. I look forward to using these techniques in upcoming trials. This book is invaluable.
    —Rick Kammen, listed in Best Lawyers in America (criminal defense) 1985–2011

  4. Like Rules of the Road, David Ball on Damages, and The Persuasive Edge, this is another Trial Guides book that is a must-have for any plaintiff’s lawyer’s library. Carl is a true hero to every trial lawyer for writing, sharing his skills and wisdom with us so that we can better help our clients.
    —Paul Scoptur, board of directors of the Wisconsin Association for Justice, professor of law at Marquette University Law School, listed in Best Lawyers in America 2002–2011

  5. Story, our most primitive and still most robust method of communication, is what jurors make up for themselves unless you create a good one for them. Bettinger’s powerful way to do that should become the gold standard for every closing we do from now on. In Twelve Heroes, One Voice Bettinger writes, teaches, and inspires with wisdom and heroic fervor. Don’t miss this new Trial Guides classic-in-the-making.
    —David Ball, author of David Ball on Damages 3, co-author of Reptile.

  6. Carl Bettinger well teaches the hero’s journey because he’s taken it himself. Study this book. You’ll find the hero’s journey in your life and your client’s as well. More important, you’ll learn to take the jury on its heroic journey to justice for your cause.
    —Jim Fitzgerald, member of the American College of Trial Lawyers, past president of the Inner Circle of Advocates of Trial Lawyers, and listed in Best Lawyers in America

  7. I have found that the best books about how to be a trial lawyer are not law books. They are books about psychology, literature, and stories. Twelve Heroes, One Voice is the first book that really brings it all together.
    —Conard Metcalf, fellow of the International Society of Barristers, listed in Best Lawyers in America

  8. No one could not come away a better lawyer if they can master the concepts of this latest contribution to make us all better spokespersons for our clients.
    —William H. (Bill) Carpenter, member of the American College of Trial Lawyers, past president of the New Mexico Trial Lawyers Association

  9. When Carl Bettinger produces the simple truth of the honest story for the empowered jury, the most skilled defense lawyer has no defense.
    —Bruce Hall, Albuquerque Appellate Lawyer of the Year, 2001; listed in Best Lawyers in America

  10. An innovative, creative work that will help every lawyer better represent her client in the courtroom.
    —Anne M. Valentine, listed in Best Lawyers in America, past president of Ohio Trial Lawyer

  11. Carl Bettinger’s book Twelve Heroes, Once Voice is essential for trial lawyers who want to learn how to truly connect with jurors and empower them to have the courage to provide justice for their clients.
    —Barbara Bergman, Professor of Law, University of New Mexico School of Law; recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Trial Advocacy, Stetson School of Law, 2010

  12. Before I was halfway through the first read (there will be many return visits to this book) I was excitedly trying out what I’d learned so far.
    —Marjorie Russell, Professor of Law, chair of litigation skills, Thomas Cooley Law School

  13. Carl integrated Homer and Cervantes with popular cinema to help us understand how to tell a story, the importance of juror empowerment, and the importance of self-empowerment.
    —Mark R Kosieradzki, past president of the Minnesota Association for Justice, listed in , diplomat in the National College of Advocacy

  14. A triumph. Once upon a time, I was losing hope that there were ways to win at trial other than by playing off juror’s fears and biases. Playing the hero, Mr. Bettinger has restored my faith.
    —Mark D. Samson, plaintiff’s attorney for the Edwards verdict, a transfusion-associated AIDS case which remains the largest personal injury verdict in Arizona history, $28.7 million

  15. Every courtroom lawyer has one book that he or she reaches for in order to prepare for the next major trial. This is the book I will reach for from now on.
    —James E. Girards, Texas Super Lawyer 2004–2011 and director of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association

  16. Carl gives you what the Reptile left out. Learn why fear is not the end all and be all. Carl shows you how mentorship of the jury, earning their trust and empowering them will lead to heroic plaintiff’s verdicts even in these times.
    —Roy D. Turner, chair of the AAJ Nursing Home Litigation Group, inaugural and past chair, Virginia Trial Lawyers Long-Term Care Litigation Section

  17. Carl Bettinger is an outstanding trial lawyer and creative thinker who has authored one of the best books ever written on trial advocacy, Twelve Heroes, One Voice.
    —Garvin A. Isaacs, listed in Oklahoma Super Lawyers, 2007–2010

  18. Twelve Heroes, One Voice brings to light how the hero-villain-mentor relationship between the jury and lawyer can be examined and illuminated in-depth. Carl explains how to reach justice alongside the jury. No tricks, no illusions, no slight of hand—just the plain, simple truth.
    —Ann Deutscher, named on of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Washington State, 2008–2010

  19. Twelve Heroes, One Voice is the best book I have read about the fundamentals of storytelling as they apply in the courtroom. It is clear, practical and filled with real-life examples. If you want to learn how to empower jurors, you need to read this book.
    —Joane Garcia-Colson, psychodramtic trial consultant, trial lawyer, former executive director of Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyers College, co-author of Trial in Action

  20. A unique take on how to make your case come to life in the courtroom by actively engaging the people who matter the most in trial—the jurors—through empowerment and hero-making.
    —Fredilyn Sison, co-author of Trial in Action, formerly faculty of The Trial Lawyers College and the Advanced National Federal Defenders Program

  21. Like all good stories, Twelve Heroes, One Voice draws us ever onward. Bettinger shows us why and how to care for our clients. It invites us all to be larger than our present conception of ourselves.
    —Mary Peckham, co-author of Trial in Action, certified practitioner of psychodrama, former faculty of The Trial Lawyers College

  22. This is an instant classic and I have no doubt that it will be instructive to its readers for years to come. Bettinger explains theoretical innovations in trial advocacy in practical terms that readers will immediately understand and undoubtably incorporate in their trial practice. Twelve Heroes One Voice does a fantastic job of synthesizing the research and teaching done by leading neuroscientists and trial advocates in an era that will be remembered as a renaissance for legal education thanks to Trial Guides. The book succeeds in providing practical applications to complicated theories and offers clear instruction and illustrative examples to aid readers in applying his teachings to their trial work.
    —George N. Sidiropolis, Esq.

  23. I read [Twelve Heroes, One Voice] last month in the week before a trial and took what I learned into the trial. I had always understood “hero,” “journey,” and “villain,” but had never really spent time thinking about the role of the “mentor.” [Carl Bettinger’s] description of the role of mentor and focusing on that role in trial gave me a concrete, visceral understanding of my relationship with the jury. It helped me to avoid being either apologetic or timid in my role with them (I am more inclined toward these than I am inclined toward confidence), as I understood I had a specific role to play in their journey that was necessary for them to accomplish a verdict that was true and just. It also helped me understand the boundaries of my relationship with them. Focusing on my role as mentor, I not only said the words “I cannot go back with you to the jury room to deliberate,” but meant them. It was important for them and for me—for us—to speak to the work they would have to do without me.

    In the end, the jury was heroic and we obtained a fantastic result for my client.
    —Nelson Tyrone, Atlanta, GA

  24. I read Twelve Heroes, One Voice last week while I prepared for trial. It resonated with me and transformed my prep and our trial. I told my client’s story. I gave up the power to write the ending. Before I read the book, this was a ‘soft tissue- no objective findings case.’ Allstate offered $9k. I asked for $66k. I said my client wouldn’t think that was enough if you asked him, but it was what I was comfortable asking for. The jury heard the story and awarded $91k. There was no reptile in the courtroom. Only heroes. Thank you.
    —David M. Bolt

  25. Two weeks ago I tried a rear end back and shoulder injury case of a 76 year old woman hit in Rhode Island. Unlike Mass., this state allows voir dire and suggestions of $ amounts. 25K in meds; a report done for us on causation but no live (or recorded) testimony. I incorporated so much of your work in voir dire (especially recognizing the specialness of the jurors and affirming their power). I suggested that they would be justified in giving her over 1 million, a number all agreed would take some doing. Offer was 30K (then 108K just on eve of trial).

    In closing I again empowered them. (‘your power here is every bit as potent as the power of one who negligently operates a vehicle and hurts someone..’) Asked them to save the day. Explicitly told them the once upon a time story of my client… etc. ‘Until one day this jury would write the story of the balance of her 12 years of life expectancy.’ I asked them not to give in to the impulse to say ‘just another accident’ and to show courage and do something they can be proud of. (used the ‘comp end’ of the balance, love that!)

    Had your book in my briefcase; consulted during the process many times (recommend it widely).

    Jury; All the meds, more than half the wages (for a then 71 year old nurse) 301,000 for pain and suffering and 40,000 for impairment, i.e. 401,000.00. (a very large amount given the circumstances). Judge was impressed by the closing (questioned the voir dire style) and stunned by the verdict (but he has upheld it; I think in large part because he was empowered to help as well).
    —Christopher Trundy

  26. I would like to thank Carl Bettinger for writing Twelve Heroes, One Voice. I had been struggling to find my voice again in the courthouse. What worked for me ten years ago was no longer resonating with today’s juries. I worked with David Ball and others, but it didn’t feel like it fit, and I still was not happy with my verdicts.

    When I read Twelve Heroes, One Voice, it really resonated with me. I felt like I suddenly had insights to explain how I won some of my past victories, and a way to guide a jury to the truth.

    I tried my first case this week since reading the book. It was a car wreck case involving a hit-and-run. Defendants said that we had the wrong vehicle. They hired a reconstructionist who said that their car could not have been involved in a wreck, and a radiologist to say that everything wrong with my client was preexisting. I had a good client and a good story, but the case definitely had its challenges.

    I did my best to incorporate what I read in Twelve Heroes into my trial. It felt right. I was more alive in the courtroom than I had been in years.

    Past medicals were $18,000. Today a jury in Hidalgo County, Texas found the defendants negligent, and awarded $366,600. I don’t think I could have done it without Twelve Heroes, One Voice.
    —Michael Cowen,

  27. I have tried three jury trials using all the concepts in the book since I got it and won all three. Great book, and it has revolutionized the way I try cases.
    —Chuck Pekor

2 reviews for Twelve Heroes, One Voice

  1. Rated 5 out of 5

    John Heenan

    This book presents an amazing roadmap to trying your case in a way that is intuitive for jurors and compels them to do justice. This should be required reading for anyone who takes on insurance companies and powerful corporations. Highly recommended!

  2. Rated 5 out of 5

    Tim Garvey

    I’ve bought a lot of Trial Guides’ books and a lot of books on storytelling. This one stands out as the best in both categories. It’s just chockfull of practical and useful advice on how to conceptualize your cases and tell your clients’ stories in a persuasive manner. It is an easy and compelling read, too. I gets my highest recommendation.

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