Up to 70 percent of jurors will have made their decision by the end of opening statements. Attorney Keith Mitnik has developed a successful method to show you how to win at the start and dismantle the defense’s case while trying yours.
Keith Mitnik lives in courtrooms. When he’s not in trial, the senior trial counsel for Morgan & Morgan, the largest personal injury law firm in America, spends his time mentoring his firm's younger lawyers and inventing cutting-edge courtroom strategies. In Don’t Eat the Bruises, Mitnik reveals his result-producing methods for the first time in print. Drawing from the hard-won experience of his prolific and innovative career, Mitnik offers an approachable and proven system for trying and winning cases.
Exploiting juror bias, taking things out of context, and overemphasizing imperfections at trial are all “bruises”—cheap tricks that the defense uses to distract from facts and well-constructed cases. Mitnik offers strategies for dealing with these issues in jury selection, opening statement, and beyond, with a heavy focus on dismantling defenses based on bias, sympathy, and prejudice at the very beginning of your case.
Don't Eat the Bruises is an easy to read book that provides you with practical advice on effective legal skills. Whether you’re a new lawyer seeking guidance for your first auto case or a seasoned advocate looking for a fresh approach to your upcoming medical malpractice trial, Mitnik’s framework provides you with practical tools for winning.
Don't Eat the Bruises will give you the skill and confidence to get out of your office and into the courtroom to seek full justice on your next case.
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- Part I Jury Selection: Cutting Out Bias
- Getting Rid of Bias Lightning-Quick
- Educating Jurors about Bias
- Identify Those at Risk for Bias
- Establishing, Expanding, and Fortifying Cause
- Nuances and Common Complications
- Identification and Cause Questions for Car Crash Cases
- More Identification and Cause Questions
- Identification and Cause Questions for Medical Negligence Cases
- Wrapping Up Bias
- Completing the System after Bias
- Putting It All Together
- Part II The Untapped Power of Opening Statements
- Getting Ready to Give and Take
- Owning Their Favorite Facts
- In Context versus Out of Context
- The Language of the Case
- Rounding Out the Untapped Power of Opening
- Part III The Evidence Phase: Keeping the Lead
- Direct-Exam: Building on Opening
- Cross-Examination: Holding Your Ground
- Part IV Closing: Bearing Fruit to the End
- Finishing in Full Stride
- Holding All the Cards
- The Dignity of Damages
- Damages Models
- The If-It-Was-Only Damages Model
- The Power of Analogy
- Part V Burden of Proof: A Brand-New Way
- The Civil Burden of Proof
What Legal Leaders Are Saying
— Brian Panish, member of the Inner Circle of Advocates
Don’t Eat the Bruises offers trial attorneys the fruits of Keith’s spectacular career. Full of great analogies and helpful tips, this tasty treat will ensure that you remove all the spoiled and bruised parts of your next case—leaving you with a case that is fresh, crisp, and deliciously effective.
— Brad Bradshaw, Ph.D., jury consultant and author of The Science of Persuasion: A Litigator’s Guide to Juror Decision-Making
Unlike approaches that require attorneys to cram evidence into a one-size-fits-all template, Mr. Mitnik’s framework can be integrated with any case’s nuances. This innovative approach will change the way you try cases.
— Tim Semelroth, past president of the Iowa Association for Justice and president-elect of the Iowa chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates
Warning—reading this book will make you want to try more cases! Mitnik has shoehorned decades of experience into deceptively simple strategies for any personal injury case—big or small. This book is for any lawyer ready to turn down the insurance company’s next low-ball settlement offer and seek justice in a courtroom.
— Paul Byrd, past president of the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association
Keith Mitnik is an ‘in the courtroom’ trial lawyer. He is encouraging us all to realize we can be the same. This is going to be my firm’s new handbook!
— Jon Peeler, 2014–2015 president of the Tennessee Association for Justice
Don’t Eat The Bruises is the A-to-Z guide on selecting a jury and trying a case. After reading this book, I incorporated Keith’s strategies into my practice and I will never pick a jury the same way again.
— John Edwards, Inner Circle of Advocates, US senator, presidential candidate, Democratic vice-presidential nominee
Keith lives in courtrooms. His ideas on jury selection, opening, and burden of proof are original, practical, and usable in your next trial.
— Ronald E. Johnson, Jr., president of the Kentucky Justice Association
I have known Keith Mitnik for one thing—going to trial. Keith has condensed his years of experience into a readable and informative book that will benefit every trial lawyer.
— Scott P. Schlesinger
Keith is a killer, and his book is a compendium of killer concepts. There are brand-new ideas borne of painstaking devotion and remakes of tried and true techniques that shine as new. For years I’ve sought and used his guidance at trial, now you can too.
— Bob Kelley, member of the American Board of Trial Advocates, and listed in Best Lawyers in America
Keith Mitnik is the kind of down-home trial lawyer who comes along once in a lifetime. He doesn’t just try cases, he knows how to teach trial lawyers to win.
— Matt Morgan, attorney for Morgan and Morgan
I was fortunate to learn Keith’s techniques right out of law school. I went from a ‘baby lawyer’ to a real threat. I’ve tried eighteen cases to verdict in four years and only lost one. I credit much of my success to Keith’s systems. The best part is it works on all cases, not just the big ones.
— Alan Stagmeier, attorney for Morgan and Morgan
After seven years of practicing law without Keith’s concepts, I began learning and implementing them. Shortly thereafter, I obtained a $2.9 million verdict that would not have been possible without Keith’s teachings.
— John Morgan, founder of Morgan and Morgan
He got seven-figure verdicts, then eight-figure verdicts. They just keep coming, and I have had a front row seat for twenty years. He has a secret sauce that he has bottled just for us with this book. Try it. You’ll like it.
— Dr. David Illig, litigation consult and witness communication specialist, Portland, Oregon
As a jury consultant who works all over the country with some of the best lawyers in the business, I can tell you Keith Mitnik is one of those rare talents that comes along every decade or so. If Mitnik wrote it, you would be wise to read it.
— Mike Morgan, attorney for Morgan and Morgan
I was lucky enough to have Keith teach me how to become a lawyer right out of law school. The lessons in this book armed me with the confidence to try any case. His methods allowed me to become one of the youngest board-certified civil trial lawyers in the history of Florida.
— Russ Herman, past president of the American Association for Justice and past president of the Roscoe Pound Foundation
Keith Mitnik’s Don’t Eat the Bruises is destined to be a masterwork in the pantheon of trial practice literature. It’s a must-read, must-use, must-reread manual on the righteous fight!
— Geoffrey Fieger, legal defense for Dr. Jack Kevorkian, star of the Fox series Power of Attorney, winner of the largest single-injury verdict in the country
This book is a must-read for anyone who aspires to be a real trial lawyer.
— Judge Alan Dickey, retired circuit judge of the 18th Circuit of Florida
Keith Mitnik’s book is a must-read for any aspiring personal injury attorney and for more experienced trial lawyers. Mitnik is the finest civil trial lawyer to present cases to the jury in trials over which I have presided.
— Charles H. Rose, III, professor of excellence in trial advocacy, director of the Center for Excellence in Trial Advocacy, Stetson University School of Law
Don’t Eat the Bruises is the best book on trial advocacy you will read this year.
— Don Keenan, author of Reptile
Keith is a lawyer who can try any case, big or small. He got on my radar screen by being cutting edge. He’s smarter than the average bear.
— Lisa Blue, past president of the American Association for Justice
Keith’s ideas are fresh, exciting, and powerful. This is a truly exceptional book for trial lawyers of all skill levels. People will be talking about this book for a long time.
— Alex Brown, attorney at Morgan and Morgan
I clerked for Keith while I was in law school. Listening to him lit a fire in me that will never be extinguished. Reading this book is the greatest gift young lawyers will ever give themselves.