Thursday, October 21, 2010
Analogies and the courtroom.
The best case teams I have worked with over the years have mastered the use of analogy in their presentations. This has been a constant tool and point of interest in my professional career. One of the first things I do when I join a trial team is read all the expert reports. This gives me an instant foundation of the case to work from. Then I begin thinking critically toward analogies both oral and visual which may assist a jury. Facts and comparisons are useless if the twelve most important people in the world do not understand them.
Analogies can also assist with the theme of any case. This is especially true in product liability cases which are often ripe with analogous and comparable information. Even though there are distinct differences between consumer and professional products they are often begging for creative analogies. Juries love having something they can latch onto for their deliberations. The trial team must be prepared to create that “light bulb” moment so the jury has the sudden realization that they have encountered something similar before.
Anything less and the trial team will run the risk of falling on deaf ears. If you don’t believe me watch the jury. Those paying attention and nodding their heads if you are lucky are getting it.
All five of them.
Viewing Metaphor as Analogy, in Analogical Reasoning: Perspectives of Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Science, and Philosophy (D.H. Helman, 1988).