Role Reversal

Harper Lee in To Kill A Mockingbird says [“y]ou never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.”  As trial lawyers it is essential to understand this reality. One way to do this is role reversal:

Our Client. We listen when relating with our client. After listening and understanding we role reverse.  We see ourself in our client’s shoes. This means all aspects of our client not just his injury. We become our client and internalize how we feel in his skin.

Defense Lawyer. We become the defense lawyer. This means having lots of cases as most insurance defense lawyers do. This means having to answer to home office as most insurance lawyers do. This also means trying to win the case. What facts do you need to know. What facts are bad for you as defense. What facts are good for you. How do you feel if the plaintiff is an honest likable person, and his lawyer is a good guy?  How do you feel if the plaintiff is a prick and his lawyer is an ass hole?

Witnesses. This means experts and lay witnesses. What is my motivation for being a defense expert witness. Am I preventing frivolous lawsuits? Do I do this to make money and this is what is most important? Do I do this because I like to work? These answers help better deal with the witness at the time of deposition and/or trial.

The Judge.  We become the judge. As the judge we want to be seen as fair and impartial. We want to follow the law. We do not want to be reversed. In a close case we go with the better lawyer. This will be our advocate if there is an appeal.

Jurors.  We become the jurors. In void dire we learn background facts on our jurors and these facts allow us to become a juror. What do we think of the case on first impression. What makes us want to root for the injured plaintiff? What makes us want to see the injured plaintiff go down in flames.

Keep it Up. The list goes on. Keep doing role reversal. Do it in your case and do it in your personal life. It will make you a better lawyer and a better person.

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