Lamson, Dugan and Murray, LLP, Attorneys at Law

Trial Lawyers (and Football Coaches) Need to Listen

Posted in Cross Examination, Depositions, Direct/Redirect Examination, Trial, Voir Dire, Witness Preparation

In a post following my most recent jury trial I noted the importance of listening.  As I stated, this may seem elementary but it is not.  On Tuesday, Kyle recounted his recent experience serving as a guest judge at a client counseling competition.  As his first point he also noted the importance of listening.  Now, there is another endorsement for the importance of listening.  Nebraska’s very own Bo Pelini has engaged an outside consulting firm to assist the program in its recruiting efforts.  One of Pelini’s comments on the subject is this:

 ”They’re working to help us to not only ask the right questions, but teach us what to listen for when we ask the questions and get more insight in the limited amount of time we’re with recruits,”

Though there is no proof that coach Pelini reads this blog it appears he certainly agrees with what Kyle and I have said.  In order to effectively identify issues you must master the art of listening.  Knowing what to listen for is a key to that process.  For example, in the same way a college football coach can get wrapped up their own message about their program lawyers often will get so wrapped up what their next question will be that they fail to listen to the answer to their first question.  This might mean that an opportunity for follow up is missed or, perhaps even worse, no responsive answer is truly given to the first question at all.  When that happens during a deposition it can be bad enough.  But when that happens during trial you may now be without a key piece of evidence that is needed to carry a burden.

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