What Makes a Trial Attorney Effective?

Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth President of th...

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How does one become an effective trial attorney? It boils down to being an effective communicator. Everything an attorney does sends a message to the jury and judge. This involves your personal appearance, how you speak, your posture, eye contact and how you put together your message. It’s important to watch other people try cases any chance you get. You learn from both good attorneys and bad attorneys.

Don’t be afraid to steal from the best trial attorneys you can find, whether in your local courtrooms or in the pages of history such as Abraham Lincoln or Clarence Darrow. The most important trait an attorney possesses in persuading a jury or judge is their sincerity and honesty. Be true to who you are and embrace it, don’t run away from it. Nobody is going to buy what you’re saying no matter how polished, if they don’t believe you. Be yourself.

The collective wisdom and perception of the jury will spot a phony. The most credible attorney is the most persuasive advocate before the jury. I’ve seen more than my share of cases where the more polished, handsome and “intelligent” attorney lost. Remember, the jury decides a case based upon the most credible evidence presented for their consideration. Be a worthy guide to the truth.
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About Richard A. Cook

Richard Cook graduated from Purdue University in the Economics Honor Program in 1979 and obtained his Juris Doctor degree from Valparaiso University School of Law in 1982. Following law school, Richard served as a federal law clerk in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division. In 1984, Richard began working as Deputy Prosecutor for the Lake County Prosecutor's Office and from there, served as Assistant U. S. Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division. There he handled a number of complex criminal matters and jury trials. While there, Richard received the Chief Postal Inspector's Special Award and a letter of commendation from the U.S. Attorney General for his work prosecuting a major money order fraud scheme being perpetrated out of the Indiana State Prison system. Since leaving the U.S. Attorney's office in 1989, Richard has focused primarily on civil work and is currently a member of the firm Yosha Cook & Tisch in Indianapolis. Richard is also a member of the ITLA, IBA and the ABA, as well as, a fellow for the American College of Trial Lawyers. He is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell.

Posted on August 8, 2011, in Trial Advocacy. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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