In this episode of Civilly Speaking, host Sean Harris talks with Brian Wilson, an attorney from Canton, OH. Brian has been practicing law for over 30 years. He recently sat down and reflected upon what he has learned during that time. Throughout the episode, Brian shares those reflections in hopes they will benefit other attorneys.

Sean: Hello, I’m your host, Sean Harris, and this is episode 53 of Civilly Speaking brought to you by the Ohio Association for Justice. Today is December 6th, and I’m here with our guest, Brian Wilson from Canton. Brian, thanks very much for joining us here on Civilly Speaking.

Brian: Thanks for having me, Sean.

Sean: So our topic today, Brian is a well-respected trial lawyer from Canton and has been around for 30 plus years and Brian, have you picked anything up over 30 years or so?

Brian: Not enough, apparently because I sat down to write on a piece of paper what I’ve learned as a plaintiff’s lawyer and I only came up with 16 things. I haven’t learned a whole lot, but…

Sean: Let me ask you about the first one there, because it strikes me as one maybe that people might disagree with when you hear it and that is one of your observations being that we over prepare our clients for deposition and trial. What do you mean by that?

Brian: Well, I think I learned the hard way over the years that we give our clients so many rules to remember. Don’t do this. Don’t do that. For God’s sakes, if you say that, blah, blah, blah and sometimes we turn them into robots in the process and I kind of changed my mindset about preparing my clients for a deposition. You know, everybody has a gift. Some of our client’s humor is their gift. I don’t mean humor in a raunchy way or anything, but some of our clients are just generally funny and nice people. And I want that to come through in their deposition. I don’t want them to lose that. Other folks that we have as clients are they will be good witnesses, but they talk too much and but as long as they’re not hurting themselves, I don’t want to take their personality away from them either. So, I think that my mindset has changed on that. We all have to recognize some of our clients and do need some work to get ready and for those clients I will use, I’m a big believer of props. For instance, if someone, if we have a client who is just can’t wait till the question’s finished, he or she, they want to jump on the answer and they don’t take that time to reflect I’ll give him a squeeze ball and say, okay, I want you to squeeze this ball twice before you answer any of my questions this morning in preparing them. Other clients might have like a nervous habit or a way of speaking and I’ve even brought in like a referee’s flag, and I’ll throw it when they start with habits that we need to break, but other than that, and they remember that because it’s a visual, I really think that we more than anything else, I want to ask my clients, okay, what are you concerned about? And addressing those concerns, and I want them to be empowered. I want them, I always tell my clients when you get your deposition taken, I want you to be the one who’s in control, not the lawyer. And I think if we allow their personality to come through and they’re not so concerned about breaking one of our precious rules, they’re more likely to have that sense of I’m in control here, not you.

Sean: Well, and that’s a good point that we want them and we need them to be authentic. Right? We need them to be who they are. I know my clients always ask me, what should I wear? And I say, well, gosh, I want you to be comfortable and I want you to be who you are. If you’re a, you know, a blue-collar guy and you come in in a tuxedo, it ain’t gonna look right.

Brian: Exactly.

Sean: Now, number two here says that you should always, one of your observations is that you should always carry a blank subpoena with you for trial. I take it this has come up before.

Brian: Come up twice and they’ve both been very interesting. So, two quick stories the first, we were trying a trucking case years ago and the judge was saying, okay, who’s going to you know what, your witness list and we said, we’re going to call the risk manager who came up from Texas to sit there during trial, we had not deposed them. We had no idea what he was going to say, but he’s their corporate designee. We’re going to put on the stand to see what he knows. Well, the defense lawyer, unbeknownst to us, went out in the hallway and said, get the hell out of here, get in your rental car and drive back to the Cleveland airport because he did not want him on the stand. We found out about it, had our investigator chase him, but she couldn’t catch him. He made it to the airport unscathed and so the lesson I took away from that is I’m going to always have a blank subpoena in my suit jacket filled out that has the trial date and the words and continuing so in case something like that ever happens and I got wind of it, I could just fill out the subpoena real quick and serve it on the person. And sure enough, years later, we were picking a jury for a medical malpractice case against a hospital system and we wanted to call their hospital doctor/representative as the first witness. We were on a break during jury selection and I overheard that this doctor was going to be leaving for Europe for a conference and we had already worked out he was going to be our first witness. So, I filled out the subpoena real quick and I served him on the elevator and he left for Europe and the following Monday, we told the judge what happened. She was livid. Made him come back from Europe on a plane so he could be our first witness.

Sean: Wow.

Brian: So, you know, it doesn’t happen often, but you never know when someone’s going to try to skedaddle on you. Yeah, there’s more to that second story, but that we’ll leave it there.

Sean: How about what have you observed about getting on the same page with your client?

Brian: Yeah, I think we’ve all heard mediator’s right, Sean, that say, look, the client and lawyer are not on the same page here and it’s the number one impediment to getting a claim resolved. So I think it’s a matter of establishing, eventually you need to establish control, but you do that through trust and so I think it starts early on. I always ask the client initially, you know, what are your fears? What are your concerns? And most of them come from the standpoint of they’re worried about loss, they’re not worried about gain. You know, you hear the common refrains like, look, I just don’t want to get taken to the cleaners on this. You know, I didn’t ask for any of this. I don’t want to owe anybody. I didn’t want to owe my lawyers. I’m not sitting in front of you to make a lot of money I just don’t want to be screwed. That’s where most of them are coming from. If initially the view of the client is they’re talking all about gain or anger, then you need to know that because that dictates what you may have to work on with the client down the road. But I always let them complain. A lot of times my clients will apologize. Hey look, I realize I’m complaining a lot about this and that and I tell them you have every right to complain. It’s a matter of perspective and what we can do for your complaints within the context of our civil justice system and at that point in time where it comes time to evaluate their case and I do something that probably most lawyers don’t do. I was told long a long time ago never to do it. I ask them, recognizing that I may not ever be able to reach this goal, what would make you happy? What would make you happy? And that tells me a lot about what the client is thinking and there are sometimes I’ve had a few conversations over the last 30 years where I’ve told the client, look, certainly I have no doubt you deserve that amount, but I can’t get it for you and I want you to know that the figure you’ve given me means we are automatically going to trial the case is never going to settle. You need to know that and I always give them a choice. I said I do not want to force any settlement down your throat ever. So, you have a choice here’s what I think your case is worth and I give them a range whether we’re going to mediation or beginning negotiations, I said, if that is not acceptable to you, then fine. You probably need to find somebody else. I will give you your files. You won’t owe me a penny. Talk to somebody else. I hope I’m wrong. I hope you get everything you think you deserve, but I can’t help you any further, and I think that with that mindset, a lot of clients will say, well, no, I don’t want to do that. You know, I realize that maybe I’m coming in a little bit too high or whatever, but it kind of lets them know that we’re in this together, you know that we have to be on the same page. If we can’t get on the same page, then we may need to part ways but I’ve had only three clients in 30 years say I know, I want to go elsewhere and say, fine, you know, wish you the best.

Sean: Right.

Brian: I think all that is important that they have to have a say. But there has to be some meeting of the minds, so to speak.

Sean: Right.

Brian: Instead of us just telling them, look, this is what your case is worth…

Sean: Right

Brian: You know.

Sean: Well and I think the point is a good one is that you can’t know what their goals or expectations are unless you ask.

Brian: Right. And I don’t know where that came up. Maybe it was a seminar years ago that you should never ask the client. You know what they want.

Sean: Really? Isn’t that their case?

Brian: Well, right. It is but I guess the thinking was that, you know, they came to you for advice and they do and it’s your job to tell them. And, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Sean: Right.

Brian: There’s a way that, you know, you can still do that without them walking out the door thinking, you know, this is all getting forced upon me and I don’t like it.

Sean: And speaking of clients, why is it always the ones who are hurt the worst that complain the least?

Brian: I’ve come to the conclusion that and you’ve seen it Sean and a lot of people listening. have seen it. Clients who are absolutely devastated, who have so much taken away from them every hour, every second of time is devoted to getting back what they lost. And in the process, it seems to make them not have even the time to complain about it, that they’re so mired in the fight, you know, the perseverance that they’re at, that is their predominant mindset and it’s not one of complaining like I can complain about, but it doesn’t change anything and the best example I can give you that is had a client years ago. He was stopped at a red light and hit by an eighty-three-thousand-pound truck that drove him two football fields. He fractured his spine, his skull. He was in a coma for six weeks. Went through the whole rehab for months. His joints had frozen. There’s a condition called HO heterotopic ossification, where the elbow joints and the knee joints tend to freeze because of excess calcium that builds up secondary to traumatic brain injury and spinal injury and he couldn’t eat. His wife had to feed him. Well, he called me up. This is about a year and a half after the crash and he said, I got great news. Great. Tell me about it. He said I can now eat with a twenty-inch spoon. Rehab gave me this spoon where I can turn my hand and I can actually put food on the spoon and eat it and he said, I am so thrilled because now my wife gets to eat with me. She doesn’t have to eat after I eat because she doesn’t have to feed me. And we can have a conversation like we used. You talk about perspective. Right? And so two things. Number one for us, just as human beings. Are you going to complain about that sandwich that wasn’t quite prepared right after hearing a story like that? Right? Someone who was a businessman who was, you know, in a wheelchair, but he was thrilled because he can finally eat a meal with a twenty-inch spoon tends to put things in perspective. Secondly, I thought, we settled the case on the first day of trial. I thought, well, there is a model for direct examination with clients who have been really significantly injured that you could actually do a whole direct examination on what the client is now able to do. Right?

Sean: Instead of focusing on what they can’t do.

Brian: Exactly. You know, so, Ron, we’re here, it’s two years after the crash. Tell us what you’ve been able to accomplish. Well, I can eat a meal with a twenty-inch spoon now. Took me a year. I mean, what better message does that send? I mean, the jury will figure out.

Sean: Right.

Brian: What was taken away. But if they look at someone’s testimony through that model that this person is a fighter, you know, who perseveres and has a great attitude. It was just it really opened my eyes to a different way of potentially presenting that evidence.

Sean: Well, and speaking of trials, talk to us about what, first of all, what is a trial anchor and how do you find those?

Brian: You know, we’ve had a lot of we’ve gone to a lot of seminars where there’s been talk of trial anchors and it’s basically finding a number and that you can connect the jury. You can analogize to a number. You know, whether it’s starting point is usually the numbers of your economics, but if you have low economics, are there other numbers or things that you can point to persuade a jury to see things your way in terms of the number you want from them? And David Ball talks about this a lot about how we as trial lawyers overlook the aspect of time. The time that it takes for our clients to get better, the time spent in therapy, waiting for the doctor. The time spent in the hospital, you know, for the tests that they send your clients to waiting six hours for this test and that test and the 48 therapy visits that take an hour and a half just for the therapy and then the drive to and from. And the idea is that you could set this up in jury selection or final argument, who considers their time to be not valuable by a show of hands? Right. Has anyone ever said, please feel free to waste my time? You know, we all consider our time to be valuable. So what is it worth when you spend so much time trying to get better because of someone’s carelessness. What I do is for cases that I trial, I will do a calendar, I will do a timeline, and I will even calculate the miles that my clients drive. I have one case where the client drove basically 700 miles to and from for all of her treatments and I said, that’s like driving to Atlanta. Folks, think about that. Right? Seven hundred miles and spent like, you know, one hundred and forty-three hours in treatment. So it dawned on me I was taking my car in to get it fixed. There’s a sign behind the mechanic that said, you know, we charge labor rates of ninety-five dollars an hour. Thought well, there’s a potential anchor. So you talk about all the time that your client spends and say, well, what’s that worth? Well, if they’re going to switch out your fuel pump, they’re going to charge you ninety-five dollars per hour for that for your car. Is your client’s time trying to get better worth that? Maybe, maybe not. Is it worth more than minimum wage? Probably. So, you get them thinking about a number that maybe they would go back and think, we’ll look at this happened to me, you know, my time is valuable and it should be worth something. So that was the point. It’s just it’s a simple point and there are other ways to make it.

Sean: You mentioned client’s driving to their doctors’ appointments. Have you ever been able to get in and actually visit your client’s doctor?

Brian: Yeah, I think it’s really important and I think that Friedman and his Polarizing The Case makes that a point that if I need a report from a doctor, I’m going to really try to meet with him or her before I get the report. And so, I will call the treating doctor’s office and say, look, I need a 20-minute office visit. I’ll pay in advance. I just need to talk to the doctor for a few minutes. And if I get in my standard pitch is, look, I’m trying to get this case resolved. So nobody has to be bothered anymore. There are two or three things I need to have answered. This is the standard. This is what I need to know. All I ask from you is honesty on behalf of my client. It’s based on science and not the fact that maybe you don’t want to get involved and I think this is the key to I always tell the doctor, whatever you tell me I will report back to my client/your patients. So if the doctor says, look, I don’t want to get involved in any of this. Okay, well, I’ll report that back to my client. But every time I’ve done that, I’ve gotten a decent report. Now, some doctors just won’t meet with you. But I’ve had a fair amount of success with that, and I think it’s worth it. I think it’s worth the time. I think it’s worth the money that you pay. I think it breaks through a lot of barriers and again, it was that was not my idea it was Friedman’s.

Sean: Every time I show up at a treating doctor’s office, they always think I’m a drug rep.

Brian: And that’s because you’re so nicely dressed.

Sean: Well, they go make me sit over and they say, oh, yeah, we’ll get to you in a minute. I said, no, no, no, no, I’m not I’m not selling anything.

Brian: Right. Right.

Sean: Talk to us about I mean, we all have phones with cameras these days. How do you use that?

Brian: I will video a client five minutes when I’m getting ready to send the demand package. Tell me what happened. What’s been the hardest part of this ordeal for you? Just a few questions. You know, especially, if I have clients who will make a good presentation, I think it’s important. Tell them that, you know, we’re just going to talk for a few minutes. I’m going to send this into the insurance company because they need to see you, they need to hear from you, and they need to hear a little bit about your story. So I think that has helped greatly. I’ve also used it for witnesses. I had an eighty-three-year-old gentleman who had a bunch of back fractures due to a crash. And, you know, the concern Sean in that case for the insurance company is going to devalue his injuries because of his age. He said he took care of his lawn meticulously. So I went out and knocked on the neighbor’s door, young guy. I said do you know, my client? He said I know him to say hi, I’ve never, you know, never really talked to him, never been in his house. And he tells me he took meticulous care of his lawn before the crash. He said, this guy put my yard to shame. In fact, my wife used to make fun of me. His yard looks so good. Why can’t our yard look like this? This guy was out there three or four hours, three times a week. And so I filmed that. Sent it in to the insurance company. I can guarantee you that added thousands of dollars of value to the claim because they heard from a neighbor who really didn’t know the guy that well who marveled and how active he was and prideful in his, you know, yard. So simple things like that. Sometimes we overlook. I feel the same way about fact witnesses. I will depose them. My fact witnesses because as you well know, Sean, we list experts, and fact witnesses and everyone’s concerned about what the experts have to say and then the defense lawyers, if they even get around to deposing the fact witnesses are usually right before trial. Usually right after mediation or after a mediation as opposed to before. And if I have great fact witnesses I want I want everyone to hear it early. So I’ll list them and then I’ll depose him. And I had a case recently where, it was a medical malpractice, where a woman who is just a pillar of the community taught Sunday school just was beloved by so many people. I got a list of six people and they were really impressive people themselves. So I told the defense lawyer, I line them up one hour apart. I talked to them on the phone beforehand, took the depositions and by the end of the day, the defense lawyer said, okay, I get it. You know, I get it, this woman was a saint, but he never would have gotten around to doing that. Probably a month before trial and I wanted them to hear all about her going into the mediation. So I did it myself. I got tired of waiting for them to do it.

Sean: That’s a good point your kind of forcing the issue, you know, forcing the evidence that’s helpful, that you know is going to be helpful, especially in the era of fewer trials. You can’t sit around and wait and hope that this stuff comes out and makes an impact, a trial. Why not force the issue during Discovery?

Brian: Correct.

Sean: I like it.

Brian:  Or much earlier than normal.

Sean: I’m reading down your list here. Recognize when someone needs to save face. What do you mean by that?

Brian: Well, the biggest thing I learned at this year’s convention was I was speaking to plaintiff’s lawyer from northwestern Ohio, who I hold in very high regard and am good, good friends with. He was telling me a story about a medical malpractice case that he tried and the parties appeared to be significantly apart. There were offers made, but nowhere near what the lawyer felt was fair. So, they were in trial and plaintiff’s lawyer had a really good day and the defense lawyer had a really bad day in terms of the way the evidence went. And as you well know, Sean, our mindset sometimes is, look, they’re not going to make a decent offer. We are going to war. We’re going to trial. And if they want to settle this case, they can come approach me. And if they don’t, you know, we’re going to let it ride to verdict. Well, the plaintiff’s lawyer did something I don’t think I ever would have done. He reached out to the defense lawyer said look, in my humble opinion, we had a really good day today and you had not such a good day. But we are still interested in trying to resolve this case. As the story was told to me, the defense lawyer was thrilled that plaintiff’s lawyer reached out to him because I can only speculate that, you know, obviously they have an ongoing relationship. The defense lawyer with the malpractice carrier, so they’re concerned about this case and other cases as well. I think that the defense lawyer needed to save face a little bit and by calling the carrier and saying, look, plaintiff’s lawyer reached out to me, tried to settle this case. And the case got settled for a good amount and I thought it was an absolutely brilliant thing because I don’t think I ever would have thought to do that. I probably would have been so entrenched in, you know, that mindset of they want to settle this case they could. I’m not talking to them they need to talk to me and that taught me that plaintiff’s lawyer was smart enough to figure out that maybe the defense lawyer was looking for a way out. So I thought it was just a little thing, but it was really eye opening for me to hear that story.

Sean: Well, and that’s a good point. That’s a conversation I have with my partners in my firm all the time about, you know, that we’re really in traditionally, of course, we think of ourselves as trial lawyers and warriors, but at the end of the day, really, we’re in the business of resolving cases one way or the other.

Brian: Right.

Sean: And getting the best result we can for the client. It doesn’t do the client any good to cut off your nose, to spite your face and say right like it would be our gut reaction in trial. So that makes a lot of sense when you say it that way.

Brian: Yeah. I thought it was counter-intuitive to some of the mindset that we have, but it was a brilliant move, I thought and it will make me think about that going forward with the cases that I have.

Sean: And you said you thought it was maybe a little thing and sometimes indeed it is all about the little things.

Brian: Right. That’s what I put on one of my end lessons. You know, it is the little things. Years ago, we had an annuity guy come in and talk to a client who had been devastated due to a medication overdose. She had brain damage, but she was still cognizant. And she was a professional. She was in a wheelchair. And the annuity guy came in, referred to our client in the third person, spoke to the parents of this adult professional woman the whole time with his annuity pitch we were trying to figure out a way to resolve the case and you know, how the annuity would work and fit into all this and he left the room and we asked the client and she said in a very whispered voice because her voice had been affected what she thought and she said, get him out of here and we said, well, what happened? She said he never looked me in the eyes and he never spoke to me and we brought in another annuity guy who did, who did all those things and he’s the one that she agreed to go with. It was a real big lesson for me in terms of our clients who are, you know, for instance are in a wheelchair or whose withered hand prevents them from doing things, you know what? They still want their hands shaken. They still want you to shake their withered hand and they want you to look them in the eyes and talk to them and it’s hard to do when they’ve been standing upright all their life and now they’re in a wheelchair.

Sean: Yeah, it’s the little things that often get overlooked that are so important.

Brian: Right.

Sean: Well, we talked earlier about your story you heard at trial and ending up resolving the case in the middle of trial. Sometimes as lawyers, we probably pick too many fights.

Brian: I think one bite that I’ve somewhat resolved as a practical matter as is the privilege fight. You know, we fight over records and probably historically related and we should because, you know, those issues are important. But a few years ago, I came up with what I think is a practical solution that works. It’s worked every time for me. You have to have the right lawyer on the other side, but what I’ll do is I’ll get all the records and I’ll call up the defense lawyer and say, look, I have all the records, I’ll bring them to you or you can come to my office and view them. You can’t copy them. You can look at them and you can flag any records you think are historically related, put a sticky tab on them and we’ll sit down and go through it and if I feel that it’s close enough call you can make copies. If we if we have a disagreement, then we can create a privilege, privilege log and submit it to the judge, but I’ll let you look at them you just can’t copy them. That way you can satisfy yourself. If you want me to sign an affidavit saying I’ve not redacted anything. Then fine, I’ll give you one. And it’s worked every time.

Sean: And you’re not absolutely refusing, right? Which is what gets their hair out.

Brian: Right. And I think that, you know, I always make this proposal and make it in writing and so if I get obstinance on the other side and then we have motion practice in front of the judge, then I can at least attach this as an exhibit to my response motion and say, hey look, Judge, I tried to not involve court with this. This is my proposal. It was met with silence or we’re not going to do that or how do we know you have all the records? So here we are and I think, quite frankly, it makes defense counsel look quite foolish if they don’t want to at least try to see how this process works. So for what it’s worth, I mean, there might be people who listen, say no, I don’t want to do that. They should never get to see anything. And I get that, but it’s a different approach. It’s not for everybody, but it seems to have worked every time I’ve offered it.

Sean: I have a question for you, Brian, and that is who plays a new board game without reading the directions first.

Brian: And that relates to final arguments. I think that we do and I am guilty of this as well, I have done a really poor job in some cases of explaining the jury instructions to the jury. Because let’s face it, they’re thrown into this process. They’re hearing testimony and objections. And, you know, they’ve never been through it and now they’re going to be thrown, they’re going to be read a bunch of instructions and then they’re going to be given these instructions, presumably. So they’re given the instructions, they’re gonna gravitate towards them because it’s like a game. You get a board game with your family. What do you do? First someone reads the directions. What are the rules of this game? And I think that juries will do that. So, if they’re going to do it, you need to really hone in on what those instructions say and what they don’t say and of course, this is to David Ball’s point, you know, for instance, in wrongful death cases you hear all the objections like money is not going to bring them back. Money is not going to solve the problem. I have problems with suing for money over a death, utilizing the instructions more than we normally do in our final argument allows us to say, look, you’re not going to see that you heard in jury selection people saying, well, money’s not going to solve the problem. You’re not going to see that in these instructions. So, if someone goes back into the jury room and says that you need to pull out these instructions and say it is not in here. That is not our charge. It is not our job. This is our job. I think it’s a way of counterbalancing all those negative things, attitudes that jurors bring.

Sean: Yeah, I think David Ball talks about it being outside the box.

Brian: Exactly and going through the instructions meticulously helps us frame the box.

Sean: I was trying to think of a Segway between a box and a pot of soup.

Brian: You know, I have done, we’re raw cooks just trying to make a decent pot of soup and that just really is, we all get ideas in our head as to the way we should try a case and why don’t do it that way and this is how I do it. And I think that’s the beauty of going to the OAJ seminar every year, because you hear some of the lawyers who speak and some of the other experts and they talk about how they do things and you realize we all are just trying to, you know, to make a decent meal. Right? And there’s a lot of different ways to do it and your recipe may be good, but sometimes you try a new recipe, a new thought, a new idea and you can have just as good, if not better of a pot of soup than you’re used to making. So that’s all that refers to.

Sean: Sure.

Brian: We just need to keep an open mind.

Sean: They call it the practice, right?

Brian: You got it.

Sean: For a reason. Now, I think you and I can agree that when it comes to comedy and trying to be funny on the stage, tell our experts to leave it to the professionals.

Brian: Yes. Have you experienced that?

Sean: Yeah, no, no examples jump to mind, but certainly, we all have experienced the idea of a joke falling flat and just not going off right.

Brian: Right. I had an expert who was a vocational expert and on cross, the defense lawyer brought all these W-2s, which really were not germane to his opinions at all because he was talking about, of course, capacity. You know, the capacity to earn and the expert joked well I can’t even read a W-2. Well, we got a verdict in the case and it was a very good verdict and they gave us four thousand more than what the expert put on the board and so I asked him about it and I asked him, would what should we do differently? Was there anything we could have done differently? And they said, yeah, don’t call don’t call that expert again. He’s an idiot. Well, first of all, why do you say this? And they said because he said he couldn’t read a W-2. Who the hell can’t read a W-2? And so they took him literally, you know, with that.

Sean: Right.

Brian: And I said, well, then why did you give her four thousand more than the number he put on the board? And he said, we really liked your client and he said that she would need an associate’s degree. Not in this job market. We gave her four-year degree the money for four years of college instead of two. So it just goes to show you they, you know, they make their own independent decision, right? They didn’t like our expert yet gave four thousand more than he boarded because they like the client. It was strange.

Sean: Right. It goes to show there’s really no secret formula, right?

Brian: No. And I have down there, but there’s one rule that you should never break and I don’t know what comes to mind when you when you see that?

Sean: The one cardinal rule that you should never break, I mean other than as a lawyer, not being authentic yourself.

Brian: That’s a big one. In fact I think that’s one of the biggest ones. The other one that I’ve always really tried to, the rule I’ve never tried to break is never waste the jury’s time. Everything I do, I try to. How can I do this more efficiently? Make it easier for them. Making sure our witnesses are all lined up. That we’re not fumbling for documents. There was an AAJ speaker years ago, I had jury bias tapes and that’s back when they were ATLA. That’s how old these jury bias tapes were and I forget the lawyer’s name he’s from Florida. He said there’s two ways you build credibility at trial. As a plaintiff’s lawyer, he said number one, when you get up, you have something to say. Number two, you don’t ever waste the jury’s time. And I really took the second one to heart and I had, you know, the judges at the ask the judges seminars you know, they have their view from the bench. They almost always mentioned that, Sean, that, you know, we see too much time being wasted and jurors getting ticked off. So I think it’s a rule that should never be broken.

Sean: Well, that frankly, that was the first thing I thought of when you’re talking about the expert trying to be funny. I’m sure at some level the jury thought this is a waste of our time. We didn’t come down here to hear you know bad jokes and guys who don’t know how to read their own documents. Right? That goes to that point.

Brian: Right. Exactly. So, I mean, those are just some observations that hopefully help somebody in some fashion.

Sean: Well, Brian, thank you for being here today. We appreciate it very much.

Brian: Thanks for having me, Sean. Doing a great thing with this podcast.

Sean: Thank you to all our listeners out there. If you like our show and want to learn more, check out and leave us a review on iTunes and we’ll see you on the next episode of Civilly Speaking.