Facts v. Feeling

“Then where Should I start?”

“Start what, for Christ’s sake?”

“Researching the history of the area. Of Derry Township.”

‘”Oh. Well. Start with the Fricke and the Michaud. They’re supposed to be the best.”

“And after I read those-“

Read them? Christ, no! Throw em in the wastebasket! That’s your first step. Then read Buddinger. Branson Buddinger was a damned sloppy researcher…but when it came to Derry his heart was in the right place. He got most of the facts wrong but he got them wrong with feeling.”

Stephen King, It (1986).

Recently at a Trial Lawyers College weekend seminar we dealt with closing argument. In working on closing it became clear that  facts are secondary to the jury (and to us as a member of the jury tribe). What matters is feeling. Until we feel the case the facts are stale. Stale as in how a typical lawyer talks to the jury. When we talk like a lawyer we stress the facts in a sterile way.We relate to the jury like a lawyer machine. And the jurors not being lawyers turn off and go their own way. If it’s toward our side we are lucky. If it is toward the defense we bring the result on ourself by failing to convey the feeling of the case.

Now how do we relate to the jury with feeling? Well we begin by discovering the story of our client. We do this by getting emotionally in touch with what our client has gone through and this feels.

Once we accomplish this and accomplishing this takes immersion into our client’s life we arrive at the emotional level of the case. This allows us to feel with our client. When we feel with our client we can with emotional honesty convey this feeling to the jury. When we do this naturally without trying to sell the jury we give our case a chance.

The feeling of our client which we mirror flows into the courtroom. The jury relates to this feeling because it is honest and true to life. The facts become subservient to the feeling of the case. Our client has this feeling, we have this feeling and this feeling is given to the jury. When the jury accepts this feeling as its own the facts become secondary to the common feeling of client, us and jury.

 

 

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