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WHAT’S THE NO. 1 FEAR TRIAL ATTORNEYS FACE? From Overcoming the Dark Closet to Facing a Jury
propaganda, it’s exactly the opposite. That is what our focus groups constantly reflect.
that anyone in politics is a sleazy, power- hungry individual. Similarly, personal injury trial attorneys are seen as scum-sucking liars who do nothing but raise insurance rates to try to line their pockets with cash. Those who typically sponsor that idea are big-money insurance companies, chambers of commerce, or any other large entities that do not like being held accountable for their actions or having their profits taken away. It’s this type of bias that trial attorneys face every time they enter a courtroom. The scariest thing about going up against these large businesses is that they have the bully pulpit. They precondition potential jurors that all personal injury claims are fraudulent. They convey the image that trial attorneys and victims of accidents are the ones who are trying to scam the individuals or companies we are trying to hold accountable. One of the most difficult jobs as trial attorneys is trying to convince 12 people to give us a fair shot when we present the evidence. When entering a court, the jury has been prepped to distrust attorneys because they assume that all they’re after is money. Our significant focus is to get the commitment from the jurors to put aside that big-money-created bias. Years ago, the empathy from the public rested solely on the victim and not the party we were trying to hold accountable; now because of 30-plus years of coordinated and drumbeat
Knowing that there is a predetermined bias against our clients in the minds of the jury isn’t enough. Trial attorneys need the experience of being in court to face a jury and present the evidence as skillfully as possible. Trying a case is a real art form — it takes at least 10-plus years of trying case after case to really get the art down. If a personal injury trial attorney does not have that experience, there is no way they will have the skillset to prevail over the obscenely overpaid corporate lawyer. something we can overcome. At Russell & Lazarus, our fear is knowing we won’t have the welcoming reception that we want from the jury. However, we refuse to back down. We face that fear head-on every time the other side wants to lowball a claim. Just like the kid who crosses their room in the middle of the night to close the closet door, we also face our fears. We walk straight into the courtroom prepared to convince 12 strangers who are For personal injury trial attorneys, facing a biased jury is intimidating, but it is
The thought of Halloween, which just passed, had many people thinking about what scares them. As a kid, you might be scared of the dark closet in your room. You know what’s in there, but the darkness is so terrifying that you don’t feel safe until the door is securely shut. Even the dark space under your bed might be the home of a terrible monster waiting for you to fall asleep. a make-believe monster. The fear of not being good enough haunts all of us — not doing well in college, not getting picked to play on your favorite team, not getting that job, or not succeeding in a business you’ve started. When kids finally take that step into the adult world, it’s important for them to know these fears can be overcome. For personal injury trial attorneys, the scariest thing we have to overcome is what lies in the courtroom. The public is conditioned to think about specific groups of people in a particular way, which is encouraged by companies who have influence (aka tons of money). Many people and businesses might tell you to avoid going to a used car salesman or When you grow older, your fears evolve, but they can become even more terrible than
preconditioned to dislike us that our client deserves to be compensated for the harm they have suffered at the hands of another. Chris Russell
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