Keys to Developing a Litigation Story


In preparing to teach the upcoming NITA trial skills program, I was reminded of the importance of an advocate's "story" of the case in creating a persuasive presentation. Here are some ideas you or your lawyer can use.

Great trial lawyers are masters of distilling complex issues and facts so that their litigation story of the case is convincing and easily digestible for their audience. Moreover, a litigation story is not just for trial, but should also be used in negotiations. Unfortunately, the importance of developing a comprehensive story of the case is so fundamental to advocacy that it is often overlooked as attorneys get bogged down with the complex minutia and distractions that they should be avoiding.

Here are a trial lawyer's four keys to a successful "story." First, begin to develop your story at the outset and make it continue to evolve throughout the life of the case. Second, incorporate a compelling message that not only frames neutral facts in a favorable manner, but also clarifies why justice dictates your endorsed outcome. Third, combat deficiencies in your case and advance logical inferences grounded in the evidence. Finally, and most importantly, your credibility is paramount. Accordingly, it is vital to avoid embellishment and any misstatement of the evidence. Your case will most likely be unsalvageable if your audience doubts your reliability.

It takes considerable thought to develop a story that condenses a large amount of information into an effective narrative that can be persuasively and quickly conveyed. Additionally, it takes training and experience. The goal: your lawyer should be able to explain why you should win your case in two minutes or less to any stranger on the street.

The NITA Trial Skills Program

For his third consecutive year, Governo Law Firm Attorney Alec S. Pine has been invited to join the prestigious teaching faculty of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy's (NITA) Boston Trial Skills Program. NITA is the nation's leading provider of legal advocacy skills training. Each year, NITA assembles a teaching faculty of trial lawyers and judges from across the country. Members are selected based on their distinguished reputations for successfully trying numerous complex matters, as well as their commitment to improving the quality of trial advocacy in our nation's courtrooms.

Throughout his career as a trial attorney, Alec has demonstrated professionalism and excellence in the courtroom, earning him recognition from judges, jurors and peers. Alec has also received industry honors for embodying these qualities in practice from Super Lawyers, The National Trial Lawyers, and The National Academy of Personal Injury Attorneys.

The NITA program is tailored to provide attorneys with the opportunity to develop and refine their skills in the art of trial advocacy, persuasion and communication. As a teaching faculty member, Alec will share his knowledge of best practices in trial advocacy, explain essential evidentiary objections and provide participants with feedback on technique, style and strategy following their live and digitally recorded performances.

The program takes place December 10, 2017 through December 15, 2017. To learn more about the program, Massachusetts trial practice or developing a litigation story, please contact David Governo at [email protected] or Alec S. Pine at [email protected].