Can a Lawyer Win Every Case?

Every case can be won.

But how? I’m not saying that I win every case, or that any lawyer wins every case – that’s a myth that you see on the television and in the movie theater.

But, I firmly believe that every case, even the worst possible case with the worst possible facts, can be won if the attorney can figure out how. Every case is different – different facts, different laws, different potential strategies, different players, and, somewhere, different paths to acquittal or dismissal…

Some attorneys may “cherry-pick” their cases, attempting to only take on the cases they think they will win. Other attorneys, somehow, consistently win most of their cases even when the facts are terrible – how do they do that?

I don’t have all the answers, but below are some of the characteristics I’ve observed of attorneys who win more cases than they lose.

Caring

If the attorney cares about his or her client, their spouse, their children, their life, and their freedom, the attorney will work harder to find a way to win their client’s case – everything else below will fall into place…

Do you know what else?

Caring is contagious.

Effective advocacy is almost always about remembering who the decision maker is at every stage of the case and persuading that person or persons to help your client.

Dismissal or pre-trial diversion? Your prosecutor will make that decision. Probation violation? Your probation officer can decide to ask the court to revoke you or to give you another chance. Pre-trial motions that shape the course of your trial and possibly end your trial before it begins? The judge is making the decision. Acquittal? Not unless 12 jurors agree…

If you don’t care about your client, why should any of those people? On the other hand, if you care deeply about your client, the decision-makers will see it and they just might start to feel it themselves.

Preparation

One characteristic that all successful trial lawyers share is that they are hard workers. They put the time in to discover what their client’s case is about, to research the law that applies, and to effectively tell their client’s story at every stage of their case.

Trials, even when they seem effortless and smooth, sometimes take hundreds of hours of preparation. Pretrial motions, opening statement, jury selection, witness examinations, and closing argument are all based on many hours of preparation including investigation, legal research, and practice.

Story Telling

People relate through stories – it’s a fact, proven over and again by social scientists.

You can tell your child, “Don’t lie about something bad happening, because one day we aren’t going to believe you when something bad really did happen.” Are they going to remember your lecture and stop making up stories, though?

What if, instead, you tell your child the story about the boy who cried wolf, how everyone came running until they stopped believing the boy, and how all the sheep were killed and eaten one day because no one believed him? They will remember the story.

At every stage of trial, the attorney must tell their client’s story. They tell the story of the case. They tell the story from the point of view that makes the most impact. They tell the story of why and how. When there is a key point that the jurors must remember and understand, they tell a compelling, relatable story that illustrates that point – and the jurors will remember.

Command of the Facts

An attorney who does not know the facts of their case, including facts from the attorney’s own independent investigation, is stumbling in the dark.

Giving an effective opening statement, cross-examination, or closing argument depends entirely on the attorney’s command of the facts. You could write an incredible closing argument that contains all the relevant facts the jurors need to remember – but, are they listening if you are reading to them? If you memorized the argument to regurgitate it to the jurors, is that effective communication?

If you know the facts of the case inside and out and backward and forward, you should be able to just talk to the jurors. Tell them your client’s story, tell them the relevant facts, tell them the laws and how they apply to your facts, and do it as if you are having a conversation with the jurors. Don’t recite memorized facts to them – talk with them about the facts.

Knowledge of the Law

Attorneys don’t just know every law and how it applies to every person’s case when they walk through the door – lawyers are trained to study the law, to research the law, and to apply it to the facts of each individual case.

It takes time to spot issues in a case, to research the relevant law and cases, to prepare motions for the Court and memos for the attorney’s reference during trial. But, knowing the law that applies to any issue that could arise during trial builds the lawyer’s credibility with the court and allows the attorney to win more motions, objections, and other arguments during the course of the trial.

Credibility

It seems like this should go without saying, but there are some attorneys who just don’t get it (prosecutors and defense lawyers). If you want to persuade a person, they must trust you.

If you want to persuade a prosecutor to help your client, you’d better hope that you’ve never lied to or cheated that prosecutor in the past. One day, when you desperately need the Court to trust and believe your argument, hopefully, the judge is not thinking about the case where you tried to make a half-baked argument based on an incorrect legal theory last year…

If your client’s life is in the hands of 12 jurors, you don’t want to be the one who is busted hiding evidence from them or exaggerating the facts… Often, a guilty verdict or an acquittal comes down to who the jurors trust – you or the prosecutor, your client or the state’s witnesses.

Be genuine, be yourself, and be real.

Persuasion and Communication

Once you care about your client, you’ve put the hours into preparing your case for trial, and you know both the facts and the law, winning or losing comes down to persuasion. At its heart, advocacy is nothing more than persuading a decision maker – prosecutor, judge, or jury – to decide an issue in your client’s favor…

There are enough books on effective persuasion and communication skills to fill a small library, and all I can do here is point out the obvious – the most effective attorneys are those who can pull together all the facets of effective communication and persuasion and use them to help their clients win their cases.

Criminal Defense Firm in Columbia and Myrtle Beach, SC

Lacey Thompson accepts only criminal defense cases in the Myrtle Beach, Columbia, and Lexington areas of SC. If you have been charged with a crime in SC, you need to get an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side immediately.

Call now at 843-444-6122 or email us through our website to talk to a SC criminal defense lawyer today.

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