The Georgia Supreme Court recently held arguments on site at the law school where I teach. This was an excellent service for legal education. In class discussion afterwards, my students truly could not contain their enthusiasm for what they observed. All of the advocates brought different strengths to the podium. One stood out for … Continue reading Judge like a judge, please
Listen Like a Lawyer will be delving into communication and writing in the next few posts. One reason this blog is generally dedicated to listening is that there are already many excellent legal-writing blogs available for the legal community. (For example: Forma Legalis, Lady Legal Writer, Law Prose, Legible, and Ziff Blog, just to cite … Continue reading Future trial lawyers, take heart
Tennessee professor Michael Higdon has followed up his 2009 Kansas Law Review piece on nonverbal persuasion with a thoughtful new essay, "Oral Advocacy and Vocal Fry: The Unseemly, Sexist Side of Nonverbal Persuasion." If you're not familiar with vocal fry, check out this MSNBC video at minute 3:30 for an example drawn from law practice … Continue reading What do we hear when we hear vocal fry?
When taking a deposition, can you immediately recognize the testimony you want to quote in a later dispositive motion? Do the words jump out at you like a “nugget” in a “treasure hunt”? Legal writing and nonfiction writing have a lot in common, as a recent New Yorker article by John McPhee suggested. I … Continue reading Do you know it when you hear it?
Listening is a loser, at least according to the widely circulated Pyramid of Learning: I've been hearing about the Pyramid of Learning -- also known Dale's Cone of Learning -- since I was a child. Yet it has a problem. Specifically, a lot of credible people believe it to be "zombie learning theory that refuses to die." … Continue reading A myth about listening and learning
The podcast Serial has, in the past few months, become the most popular podcast ever. As a dedicated bibliophile and not much of an audiobook fan, I've been surprised to become so engrossed. Serial reinvestigates the murder of Hae Min Lee, a high-school student from Baltimore who was killed in 1999. Her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was … Continue reading Yes, I’m listening to Serial. Aren’t you?
The role of a good second-chair lawyer at trial is strategically crucial. Yet the second chair's contribution can be difficult to see, compared with that of the lead lawyer starring in the show. Two major components of the second chair's contribution are preparation (before trial) and listening (at trial). The preparation gives the second chair … Continue reading Second-chair listening
United States District Judge Mark Bennett (N.D. Iowa) has published a great article on the "Eight Traits of Great Trial Lawyers: A Federal Judge's View on How to Shed the Moniker 'I Am a Litigator.'" Studying the entire article would be an excellent use of time for any litigator trial lawyer. Judge Bennett's coverage of being a great listener -- Roman numeral … Continue reading Listening at Trial
As a legal-writing professor for 14 years, I’ve attended countless conference workshops on various aspects of legal writing. The ones with music always stand out. There’s just something extra cool about a law professor who plays an instrument. Music speaks to the human ear in a way no law-school lecture ever can. Concert-trained pianist Allison … Continue reading The music of advocacy
I went to meet the listening professors (Debra Worthington and Margaret Fitch-Hauser) expecting deep theory. And they did give some, using words like "psychometric" and reflecting on the history of the listening field. But their practical work in trial consulting was where our experiences and vocabularies overlapped a lot more, and where our most interesting … Continue reading Not thinking like a lawyer