ILNews

Nordstrom: Book disappoints seasoned jury consultant

Rodney Nordstrom
July 20, 2011
Keywords
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
Indiana Lawyer Commentary

When I first saw the flyer for this book, I immediately thought of the potential for application to trial work. The book’s catch phrase “It’s not what people hear. It’s what they repeat,” has natural application for use with a jury, or so I thought. I believed that anything that can enhance a trial lawyer’s communication effectiveness is worth studying. Unfortunately, after reading this book, I was disappointed.

nordstrom-book-review-cover4c-1colThe main point of this book is the author’s concept of the Dominant Selling Idea as it relates to marketing, selling, and politics. A DSI is a central proposition underlying the message much like a case theme. The concepts in the book are pretty much already obvious to the trial lawyer. The examples cited by the author are outdated and contrite. The author advocates making the DSI, or in trial parlance, case theme, simple and memorable like the oft-quoted phrase, “if the glove does not fit, you must acquit.” A DSI is generally a good idea to follow as it relates to developing a case theme. As the DSI model contemplates, it should sell your case in a simple short phrase. A DSI for a wrongful death of a child case might be: “For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.”

The book introduces common terms like heuristics and metaphors. A heuristic is a mental shortcut that saves the brain from running thousands of algorithms leading to a quick conclusion. Think of it as a mental shortcut. Yes, juries use heuristics to help them analyze and decide a case and it is critical that trial lawyers identify naturally occurring case heuristics. That’s why focus groups are so critical. Once a heuristic is identified, it can be effectually incorporated into your trial strategy. The examples cited by the author are not really applicable for trial purposes.

Although the book is simple to read, in an hour or so, it offers little benefit to a seasoned trial attorney. Its nine chapters – 171 pages – are more aimed at a branding or a selling strategy: not as part of trial application. As a communication enhancing book it offers little insight from the lawyer’s perspective. In conclusion, perhaps I have unfairly compared this book to another book, “Winning with Stories” by Jim Perdue, which is a must-read for all trial lawyers.•

Rodney Nordstrom, Ph.D., J.D. is a trial consultant with his company Litigation Simulation Services located in Peoria, Illinois. The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Your article is a good intro the recent amendments to Fed.R.Civ.P. For a much longer - though not necessarily better -- summary, counsel might want to read THE CHIEF UMPIRE IS CHANGING THE STRIKE ZONE, which I co-authored and which was just published in the January issue of THE VERDICT (the monthly publication of the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association).

  2. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  3. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  4. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  5. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

ADVERTISEMENT