Clearly empowering a jury and its work is a critical element of any closing argument. Empowering the jury simultaneously emphasizes the stakes at issue and emboldens jurors who believe in your case to stand firm and advocate for you during deliberations. And in the latest episode of Trial Technique Spotlight, Shane Read, one of the nation’s leading trial presentation experts, discusses how Brian Panish masterfully empowered jurors in closings of a hip implant trial, setting the stage for an $8.3 million verdict.
Panish, of what is now Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi, represented a California woman who contended a hip implant manufactured by Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy Orthopaedics subsidiary was defectively designed, leaving her with a host of health problems. In leading off his closing of the 2013 trial, Panish impressed upon jurors the importance of their collective role, invoking the Magna Carta and Abraham Lincoln when describing the jury as the conscience of the community.
“This will be your decision as to how this community judges this case and these acts of this defendant, DePuy,” Panish says. “And you will set the standard as to what will occur here.”
Read says Panish expertly empowers his jury by laying out the weight of history that has led to these deliberations. “He takes them from Abraham Lincoln back to the Magna Carta and what’s written in the courthouse,” Read says. “Brian does a lot in a short period of time, and he does it so effectively.”
Read adds that tying those historical references to Panish’s description of the jury’s role as the conscience of the community is powerful. Read says the statement makes clear that “It’s not just a decision for this plaintiff. It’s for the jury… to set the standard in the community.”
Impressing the weight of that role at trial is crucial, Read says, because it focuses the jurors on their task. And ultimately it makes jurors who believe in your case better advocates in the jury room.
“This jury can’t but help feel empowered that this is an important event. And when the jury thinks it’s important, they’re going to pay a lot more attention to the evidence and the arguments,” Read says. “And if you can do that you’re going to get a verdict that reflects the facts in your case.”
Read’s analysis of how Panish laid the foundation for an $8.3 million verdict is part of CVN’s new series, Trial Technique Spotlight, with Shane Read.
Read is a nationally recognized expert and award-winning author who has helped thousands of lawyers transform their deposition, trial, and oral advocacy skills through in-house training programs, one-on-one coaching, and keynote speeches. And in each episode of Trial Technique Spotlight, he’ll use CVN courtroom video to detail the verdict-winning trial techniques the nation’s top attorneys use, and how to best use them in your own cases.
You can watch past episodes of CVN's Trial Technique Spotlight below. And stay tuned for future episodes throughout each month.