Simon Rifkind Part Two

Recall from last post, Simon Rifkind teaches lawyers and parties are “actors” in the trial.  Even when neither client nor lawyer have lines they remain on stage. Members of the audience (jurors) are potentially observing lawyer and/or client when other witnesses are testifying.

From my experience Rifkind is right. From a client standpoint the biggest mistake occurs when the client appears to be too involved with their lawyer in trying the case. This is off plot. The lawyer is the person who is expected to try the case. When the client appears to be telling the lawyer what to do, or when the client appears too strident, jurors dislike the client; the client loses the image of the hero and becomes a wanna be lawyer. The client will lose their case when this happens.

From the lawyer’s perspective it is essential to remain like a duck. A duck looks calm above the water but below the water unobserved the duck is paddling briskly to stay afloat. The lawyer must keep a cool demeanor in the face of trial adversity. The lawyer must show professionalism to opposition counsel, witnesses, court staff  and the judge. The lawyer should never appear to be a bully or out of control. There is nothing wrong with destroying an opposition witness, and this at times needs to be done, but it needs to be performed calmly, methodically and with professionalism.

It is also important to recognize that unlike a play the stage in a trial is anywhere a juror may observe client or lawyer or witnesses. Rifkind would agree to dress and act like going to and being in church at all times anywhere near the courthouse. This will not in and of itself win the case but it will certainly not lose the case.

    5 Responses to “Simon Rifkind Part Two”

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