The science of thunder-stealing

Most trial lawyers know a few “rules” to live by… i.e. Irving Younger’s 10 Commandments of Cross Examination.

 One of the more common rules you hear is to “steal your opponent’s thunder.” As a plaintiff’s attorney, when you give your opening, you want to get all of the important information out… good or bad. This is supposed to weaken the blow of the defense attorney, who no longer gets the impact out of the bad information that he once would have.

 The Deliberations blog has a link to some social science behind this. It’s conclusion is simple: if someone only hears the good, they think they’re not getting the entire story.

It’s all about credibility. If you don’t have credibility with the jury, your client, other attorneys, etc, you won’t get far.

(Howard Zimmerle is a medical malpractice attorney in Rock Island, Illinois)


1 Comment

Filed under Juries, Trial Practice

One response to “The science of thunder-stealing

  1. This is so true. You need to “draw the poison” from your case before the other side has a chance to spin. Juries want to do the right thing, but are suspicious that clever lawyers will try to pull the wool over their eyes. So you need to be upfront with the warts in your case right from the beginning.

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