Lawyers are paid to convince others. Whether they are convincing a judge that a defendant is guilty or they are defending their own client’s position, one thing is for certain: they must be persuasive. In fact, a lawyer’s success is directly correlated to their ability to convince. The more judges and jurors they are able to sway in their direction, the more cases they will win and the more money they will make.
But exactly how do lawyers do it? What do successful lawyers do to convince jurors and judges that unsuccessful lawyers do not? There are, a number of tried-and-true strategies that successful lawyers use when handling a case. Here are just a few:
- They Anticipate Likely Objections – Anticipation is key when it comes to the courtroom. Convincing lawyers are able to anticipate the objections and questions judges and jurors may have about their case and address them head on, before the audience even has time to realize it. This gives the illusion of a more iron-clad case, as audience members are left with no lingering curiosities or unanswered questions.
- They Use Storytelling – Lawyers tell a story that paints a picture; taking the audience from beginning to end, and make them feel as if they were actually present at the time of the crime. They choose their words carefully, keeping judges and jurors enthralled with strong adjectives and verbs, and they finish off with an emotionally-appealing, dramatic ending.
- They Know their Audience – In order to truly convince someone, you have to be able to see the situation from their perspective. This is something lawyers do expertly. They’re able to get into the mind of their audience (be it a judge or a panel of jurors) and understand their thoughts, their feelings and their hesitations. Then, they can tell audience members exactly what they want to hear.
- They Show (Not Just Tell) – You’ve heard that old saying that “actions speak louder than words,” right? Well the same goes in a courtroom. Successful lawyers do more showing than telling. They don’t just talk about the facts; they present them. They give their audience visible, tangible proof that the case is as they say it is by providing concrete evidence, clothing, pictures of the crime scene or the victim, documents etc.
- They’re Reasonable – Great lawyers appeal to reason. They use solid arguments, based on fact, logic and common sense. They deliver only true and accurate statements, and they’re fair and objective in the way they deliver them. They’re cooperative, they object only when there’s a good reason, and they’re willing to concede on meaningless, minor details when they’re true. Over the course of a trial, this earns the respect of the audience and gives them more reason to believe, trust, and stand behind the lawyer when it comes time for a decision.
- They Appeal to Emotions – Appealing to a person’s emotions is the quickest way to get them on your side. Lawyers often use this to their advantage. They pull at the heartstrings of judges and jurors, pique their interest and get them emotionally invested in the case. They call attention to particularly happy or harrowing facts, and ensure their audience is captivated every step of the way.
While this is not an exhaustive list of all techniques successful lawyers use to convince judges and jurors, these are some of the most common. These powerful methods can mean the difference between winning and losing a case. For more tips and tricks read Tips on How to Represent Yourself in Court and Secret Ways Top Lawyers Prepare for Court.