As a trial lawyer most of your training outside of the basics will come from trying cases. But no matter how trial active you are you will not be in trial every day. In fact, recent trends suggest that you probably will not even be in trial every month. Since you won’t be trying cases every day you should look elsewhere to improve your skills during the downtime from trial. Books are an excellent way to do that. Below are what I consider the top ten books for trial lawyers.
This book goes over all the major social science studies that have been done over the last 50 or so years regarding jury behavior. It is number one on this list of top ten books for trial lawyers because the jury is the most important body of any trial.
As the title suggests, this book explores how people are persuaded and what mechanisms trigger change in behavior. As trial lawyers our ability to persuade the jury to reach the decision we want them to make is our most important skill. This book teaches you tips and tricks to improve your ability to do just that.
There are many books for trial lawyers. And then there are books that are not designed for trial lawyers yet just happen to be a powerful addition to a trial lawyer’s arsenal. This book is one such addition. If you’ve ever wondered why storytelling is such a powerful tool for persuasion then you have to read this book.
A bit outdated yet still very useful, this book is the classic book on cross examination.
#5 – Winning Body Language – Control The Conversation, Command Attention, And Convey The Right Message — Without Saying a Word
Non-verbal communication is a critical aspect of trial work and everyday life. This book covers the often ignored field of kinesics in a way that a lay person can easily digest. While not specifically written for the trial lawyer, you’d do your client a service if you give it a read.
Every now and then you may find yourself out of inspiration for your trial story. When that happens you can always turn to this book and the others in its series. While not all the presentations in the book are great, most are pretty good and you can always pick up some inspiration from them.
Your ability to convey concepts is key as a trial lawyer. The better you become at making things simple enough so that everyone can understand them the more persuasive you become. This book teaches you techniques to make you better at communicating ideas.
As a trial lawyer rhetoric is your weapon. Learn it, sharpen it, use it. This classic takes you way back and teaches you the ways of the ancients.
In this book Herbert Stern teaches his unique philosophy on trying cases. From building your ethos to making bad facts into good facts, to always prosecuting no matter what side of the case you are on, everything in the first half of the book is quality stuff. I’m not a fan of the jury selection portion of it, but everything else in it is very useful.
The pages of this book contain a very good guide on how to master the emotional appeal of a case in closing argument. If you’ve tried cases for some time chances are you are good at arguing the case factually. This book helps you unlock the skills needed to argue the case emotionally.