From Hostage to Hero: Captivate the Jury by Setting Them Free

Sari de la Motte

Format: Paperback
Condition: New
Sale price$145.00

“With this book, Sari joins the ranks of David Ball, Josh Karton, and other great nonlawyers who understand our jobs well enough to actually make a contribution to our cases and performance. Sari is a gifted teacher, and there is practical, trial-ready advice on nearly every page.”

—Rick Friedman, past president of the Inner Circle of Advocates and coauthor of Rules of the Road: A Plaintiff Lawyer’s Guide to Proving Liability

Jurors feel like hostages. They are ordinary people who desperately need you to show them how to be the fair-minded heroes your client needs. Heroism requires a choice. It’s up to you to inspire jurors to take action.

Some jurors are confused, scared, or even angry. They’ve been inconvenienced and forced to take time away from their lives in order to participate in something that some of them view as a waste of time. They don’t want to be there, and they have zero interest in you and your client’s case. Yet, they have no choice. Like it or not, they must remain.

Sari de la Motte is an expert in nonverbal intelligence who has consulted on cases with some of the top trial lawyers in the country, including members of the Inner Circle of Advocates. In From Hostage to Hero, she teaches you how to convey meaning and purpose to jurors so they’ll wake up and want to actively participate in your client’s case.

Sari offers insights and lessons that will help you create effective presentations from the hours and hours you’ve spent learning your client’s case. And she provides examples from cases she’s consulted on to demonstrate how you can start applying those lessons today. By learning how to effectively communicate your leadership, you can learn how to inspire jurors to move from being hostages who feel trapped in a room to heroes who want to help your client find justice.

Do you want the eBook and print book? After you complete your purchase of the print book you will receive a coupon code via email to purchase the eBook for $20.

Paperback: 378 pages; 1st edition (2019); ISBN: 9781941007914
Publisher: Trial Guides, LLC

Foreword by Randi McGinn



Part 1: Preparing for Your Mission

  1. We Have a Hostage Situation
  2. Trial’s Second Victim
  3. Free Yourself First
  4. The Permission Principle
  5. Actions Speak Louder than Words
  6. Introduction to the Four Steps


Part 2: Operation Rescue

Step One: Introduce Safety

  1. The Three Rs of Safety
  2. Safety Is No Accident


Step Two: Invite Engagement

  1. Create an Issue-Oriented Voir Dire
  2. Engage Jurors to Recruit Heroes
  3. Hostages Unite!
  4. Understanding and Working with Your Jury


Step Three: Inspire Commitment

  1. Prepare an Informative Opening
  2. Create an Opening that Sings
  3. Command and Passion


Step Four: Incite Action

  1. Leadership in Action


Conclusion: Waiting for the Verdict

What Legal Leaders Are Saying

My experience, over fifty-five years of trial work involving well over one hundred jury trials, confirms the unique insight about the jury selection process which is so clearly outlined in this book. A lot of articles and books have been written over the years about jury selection concepts, but this is the first book I’ve read which so clearly and understandably provides accurate insight about the true precepts involved. Every trial lawyer who is involved in a jury trial should read this book first.

— Paul Luvera, past president of the Inner Circle of Advocates and the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association

Sari expertly combines the many years of training and practice I have personally experienced through her coaching into one book. If there is just one thing that you take from Sari and her book, it’s that you must focus on yourself to become a great trial lawyer. If you only focus on the jurors, you are missing the bigger picture. Sari will show you what you are really communicating to jurors (you may be surprised) and cautions trial attorneys to turn the camera on themselves before attempting to understand the body language of jurors. Read the book! Sari will teach you how to look at yourself and your jury in an entirely different way.

— Tom D’Amore, past president of the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association and recipient of the Arthur H. Bryant Public Justice Award

Fear is often the single greatest reason we lose cases. Ms. de la Motte does an outstanding job of addressing the fear both we and the jurors experience. She addresses the threat response and how it affects both the juror’s brains and ours as well. We NEED to understand how the brain works in order to be successful. This book is very helpful to lawyers in the trenches. It addresses issues that every trial lawyer faces and is a must-read.

— Dorothy Clay-Sims, author of Exposing  the Deceptive Defense Doctor

I first met Sari when she presented at an Inner Circle of Advocates meeting. I was impressed by her ability to simplify the difficult art of effective and authentic communication. I’ve now had the privilege of working with Sari on multiple cases and have never been disappointed by the value she adds. Effective and authentic communication, particularly in today’s day and age, is paramount. This book is a must-read for every lawyer who’s willing to invest the energy and discipline into becoming a better trial lawyer through refined, authentic, and effective communication.

— John Coletti, member of the Inner Circle of Advocates and International Society of Barristers, former adjunct professor of Advanced Trial Advocacy at  Lewis and Clark Law School

No one has thought more about how trial lawyers can do a better job enlisting and communicating with jurors than Sari de la Motte.  Her workshops on voir dire and opening statement are intense, lively, and deeply empowering. With her book, Sari has done the remarkable: she has distilled her expertise on such topics as group formation, personality types (of jurors and lawyers), trust building, persuasion—grounded in science and years of observation—and presented it all in an accessible and, yes, lively read. She is wary of one-size-fits-all prescriptions; this book will be useful for every trial lawyer, whatever her strengths, weaknesses, and experience. This is a book I will always go to as I prepare for trial.

— Corrie Yackulic, fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, Top 50 Women Lawyers, listed in Super Lawyersfor Washington 2016–2019

When I read this book, I honestly thought it was written for me. I have certainly felt like a failure as I have lost cases and wondered why. As trial lawyers, we often hear the success stories about the seven-figure verdicts. It is reassuring and motivating to know that losing is not really failure and that many, many other attorneys are, or have been, in the same boat. In my opinion, this is a must-read for any trial attorney!

— Debra Nelson, the Nelson Lawfirm, LLC

The single most important decision factor for a lawyer in purchasing a book is this: does the time I spend reading it make me that much better, give me greater insight, and propel me to greater heights? In this case, the answers are yes, yes, and YES. I was asked to read and review the book. Sari is a trusted friend, a nonlawyer teacher who views legal issues more in line with how other nonlawyers, like jurors, view them. I was delighted to learn more from her. But this book is so skillfully presented that I am in the process of reading it a second time. This second reading is totally selfish. It is for my clients and me. This is a book for all lawyers, not just trial lawyers. Any lawyer who conducts a first interview needs the techniques revealed in this book. The skills are applicable to meeting people for the first time in a way to influence them in a positive manner. Sari describes this as a process to ‘empower and encourage’ the audience (jury) by guiding them in a way that provides safety to each and forms them into a bonded group. For more experienced lawyers, who believe we have a decent handle on what it is we do, Sari provides details and subtlety that can be learned and applied in individual trials and to individual jurors. This is where we benefit most from her more eloquent understanding that she shares with us in a form that we can efficiently use. For less experienced lawyers, well . . . I wish I’d had the opportunity decades before now.

— Roger J. Dodd, coauthor of Cross-Examination: Science and Technique, board-certified civil trial specialist for more than twenty years, and listed inSuper Lawyers for both Florida and Georgia

I’ve tried over 250 jury cases, so you could argue that I don’t need to read any more ‘how-to-do-it’ books on trial advocacy. But after reading From Hostage to Hero, I realized there is still more to learn. This book is a masterpiece on how to overcome your fear in the courtroom and help jurors to do the same. I am a better trial lawyer for having read it. Bravo to Sari de la Motte for helping trial lawyers enjoy ourselves and our work more!

— Randy Kinnard, member of the Inner Circle of Advocates and past president of the Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association

With this book, Sari joins the ranks of David Ball, Josh Karton, and other great nonlawyers who understand our jobs well enough to actually make a contribution to our cases and performance. Sari is a gifted teacher, and there is practical, trial-ready advice on nearly every page.

— Rick Friedman, past president of the Inner Circle of Advocates and coauthor of Rules of the Road: A Plaintiff Lawyer’s Guide to Proving Liability