Anna Betts, who is part of the Injury Department at Keith Miller Butler Schneider & Pawlik, attended a three day Trial Advocacy College in Denver last week. This three-day workshop was designed to help trial lawyers hone their skills and learn better ways to incorporate their clients’ stories into the framework of a trial. Lawyers from all over the country workshopped cases including catastrophic car accidents, tractor trailer collisions, and nursing home abuse. The workshop was led by renown New Mexico lawyer, Carl Bettinger and Katlin Larimer, who has spent the past 16 years working with lawyers to apply psychodramatic methods to the practice of law.
Anna and the other lawyers who attended spent a full three days learning and applying story telling and pyschodramatic techniques to their clients’ cases. Mr. Bettinger taught the art of using a “story spine” to keep an opening statement organized and interesting. Ms. Larimer conducted several workshops on using pyschodramatic techniques to understand what a client or witness is going through when they tell their story. These techniques are immensely valuable to trial lawyers in helping them better understand each witness’ story and helps them get that story across to the jury. The lawyers focused on using the five senses to make a client’s story come alive and on using action verbs that “show” rather than “tell.” Finally, Anna learned the importance of empowering a jury to make a tough decision. All jurors are heros, whether they believe it or not. When a person is treated wrongly, injured, or even killed, the ONLY people who can do anything about it is the jury. Without a jury choosing to right a wrong, nothing would change in our community.
Anna found that the intensity of these workshops brought out deep emotions from her and the other lawyers as they placed themselves in their “client’s shoes.” It is very difficult for many clients to tell a deeply personal story or to share how they have been hurt or suffered. All lawyers need to be regularly reminded of how difficult it is to place trust in another person to share your story with a jury. Anna was reminded that every one of our clients has a “story,” not just a case. It is important to us to hear that story and not just to listen. Our law firm is committed to ensuring that our attorneys regularly hone their skills and work as hard as they can for our clients. Our lawyers are constantly improving their trial skills so that they can effectively and passionately represent those who need it most. If you are looking for lawyers who cares about you and your story, please give us a call today and let us see what we can do to help you.