Category Archives: Trial Strategies

Mock Trials and Yoga Merge at RWU School of Law

The Roger Williams University School of Law has a fascinating trial class that incorporates an attorney’s mental health as part of the legal education and training:

…David M. Zlotnick has crafted a class at Roger Williams University School of Law that incorporates the practice of being mindful, or fully aware, into trial work. He is trying to teach the students to connect with their own minds and hearts so they can better connect with future clients and witnesses.

“I want them to be able to be trial lawyers in a way where they are more compassionate to themselves and others,” says Zlotnick, the law school’s associate dean of academic affairs.

One of the few such classes in the country, the first-ever course at Roger Williams is being paid for through a $10,000 grant from the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, in Northampton, Mass. Its coursework draws on meditative practices that are part of all the major religions and spiritual traditions and are intended to help people achieve greater balance, calm and empathy. At the same time, it could cultivate better courtroom skills.

This sounds like a great idea.  Although I have been an attorney for only a short time, it is amazing to witness so many attorneys in the courtroom who are not actually listening to what a witness says – to the detriment of their case.

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Creating Your Trial Narrative

Here are some great tips on fashioning your narrative in the courtroom from the ABA’s Litigation publication:

Trial lawyers have always agreed that the only way to succeed with a jury is to tell a story. Indeed, countless seminars are devoted to storytelling in opening statements and closing arguments. But what happens in between “Once upon a time” and “The end”?

The starting place is five basic narrative principles: character, conflict, context, causation, and coherence. The first element of narrative technique is character. Who is your story about? Put another way, through whom do you wish to tell your story? The writer’s job is to get the reader to connect with the hero as he goes about his daily life. Your role as a trial lawyer is to enable the jury to relate to—if not identify with—your client.

Click here to keep reading Stephanie Kane’s article.