Our country has no more important value than justice – equal justice, regardless of economic status. The founders of our nation and the framers of our national government emphasized that justice was the cornerstone of the country and the government they created.
But today in the United States, the majority of litigants in important civil cases –cases involving housing, safety, and family stability – do not get justice, because they cannot afford lawyers. Volunteers like you are critical to making our solemn pledge of “justice for all” real to people to whom that promise might otherwise be a cruel illusion.
In our democracy, it is the courts that give every person, regardless of where they come from, an equal chance and equal access to justice. Lawyers make the difference. We need excellent lawyers to help make the voices of low income people heard by the courts. But your justice is only as good as your lawyer in a system where courts are overcrowded, under-resourced, overwhelmed and undervalued in the current climate. So when individuals have no access to counsel, they basically get no access to justice. But we need more resources for public interest lawyers through more training, resources and pro bono volunteerism. But resolving social justice issues requires more than just outstanding lawyers – public or private – it requires the recognition that social justice challenges are multi-disciplinary so social justice remedies must also be so multi-disciplinary. Lawyers need to be facile in other areas and willing to work arm-in-arm with other professions to change the system offer those who need it most.
Current events have shined a bright light on issues related to diversity, inclusion and biases. Can you use these current events to learn more about your own biases and the biases of others, and how biases impact your ability to be effective advocates personally and professionally. How do your biases affect how your put together the trial team, chooses your experts, pick a jury, choose your themes and theories? Using interactive activities, presenters will engage participants to develop a discerning eye to discover, confront and root out bad behavior, their own and others and to interrupt the bias.
Jury selection is probably the most frightening aspect of any jury trial, because it is the portion of the trial where the lawyer has the least control. This presentation is intended to provide both experienced and inexperienced lawyers alike the ground rules of jury selection. The presentation will include information about how to deselect jurors, based upon their previous experiences, current issues in their lives, and their basic philosophical outlook. The presentation will also include specific and practical questioning techniques designed to obtain useful information to locate jurors who are less likely to accept the lawyer’s version of the case.
Your client walks into your conference with a notebook full of instant messages, screenshots, text strings and other social media posts from the other side and announces “I want you to show our jury!” You confidently shake your head, but you don’t even use this stuff, so how can you do it? This presentation focuses on the introduction of social media and other electronic communication into evidence, as well as some pitfalls that may keep these nuggets outside the courtroom.
How do you achieve the important goals of information gathering, issue targeting, and theory testing within the context of a witness interview? How do you ask the right questions that unlock a person’s cache of information in order to discover facts? How do you develop those facts by listening and responding with probing, purposeful, inquiry? How do you formulate questions in order to create and refine an organic theory of the case? All will be answered in a 90 minute interactive presentation that will introduce the audience to the construct and implementation of effective investigative inquiry.