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Litigation tactics

Martin Iller explains why and how to paint an arresting picture of your client’s case – before trial is even considered

19 May 2006

A lawyer’s stock in trade is words – millions of them! We generate them, argue over them, distinguish them and try to wriggle out of them. We operate within a legal culture where, as if by magic, the more words that are thrown at a case, the more “winnable” it becomes. Even the simplest claim will have generated a torrent of verbiage by the time it is resolved, and yet, as any experienced judge or advocate will tell you, at trial, words are the servant not the master.

Telling the story

When it comes to the crunch, success will often go to the advocate who has created the most plausible and convincing visual image of what really happened. A trial is a “storytelling competition” in which each side invites the court to make specific findings of fact upon which a compelling narrative is then built. It follows that the ability to translate words into visual images is essential. The effect of visual imagery on the judicial mind can be seen in many ...

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