I had the honor last week of speaking at the Belli Seminar,an event organized by the Santa Clara Trial Lawyers Association, held at the Lincoln Law School, in San Jose. A day-longcollection of non-stop 10-minute presentations, the seminar was moderated bynone other than Melvin Belli Jr., and featured many well-known speakers,including Mark Geragos, Jury Consultants Amy Singer and Tammy Metzger, Tommy (Princeof Torts) Malone, Gerry Spence Trial Lawyers College President Jude Basile, andseveral top Plaintiff’s attorneys from California, Washington, Texas and NewYork. I can honestly say that this was one of the best and most educationalevents I’ve ever attended.
While any of the faculty could have easily covered the entire dayon their own, the unique part of this program was that it truly forced eachpresenter to give the “best of their best,” since we all had only 10 minutesfor each presentation, followed by five minutes for questions. My notes and “take-homes”are likely nearly identical to what they’d have been, had each speaker coveredan hour or more.
What was interesting to me was that many of the presentationscovered similar topics, but each showed a unique approach to the same end goal.Some used no technology at all, while others did. One interesting point broughtout by one of the speakers was the desire to put an “image” into your jurors’minds. I helped to demonstrate how to do that, and how to make sure it’s theright image, and that they all have the same image in mind. Carefully-craftedwords often cannot replace a visual display of the evidence.
|Image by LegalVision, San Francisco|
Jury Consultant Tammy Metzger covered the Reptilian Brainand reading micro-expressions. This was fascinating stuff that you may not even notice – even though you can “feel”the emotions of others around you.
Jury Consultant Amy Singer discussed the Casey Anthonytrial, and how she directed the analysis of over 40,000 social media followers.She also shared a demonstration on how to do it even on smaller or low profile cases.
The program wrapped up with a brief Voir Dire of 8 jurors. Thiswas a great learning experience, as was the discussion afterward.
I’ve never seen this type of program presented before, butleave it to Silicon Valley to drive the innovation. For the record, I was theonly one presenting from my iPad (using TrialPad). When I asked, well over halfof the attendees raised their hands, claiming to own an iPad. The Silicon Valley Plaintiffs Bar is certainly ahead of some other groups I've presented to. Thanks to EdVasquez for putting this together and inviting me. After a long week in trial,it was time well spent.
Just received a nice thank-you note John Shepardson, Belli Seminar Chairman:
Thankyou so much for presenting at the seminar. The visuals are huge in whatwe do, andMel Belli was a pioneer in Demonstrative Evidence. Please keep in touch. The feedback fromour members has been hugely positive.