Who Will Speak for the Victim? A Practical Treatise on Plaintiff’s Jury Argument

Who Will Speak for the Victim? is “A Practical Treatise on Plaintiff’s Jury Argument.” And it is practical. Special chapters address methods of arguing liability and damages in various types of personal injury cases, emphasizing the most effective approaches to relating the evidence and argument to the specific questions the jury must answer. If you primarily represent defendants, you will also find it helpful to review techniques the author describes to encourage large verdicts. But the extraordinary thing about this book is that all the practical tips—from basic forensic principles to how to help jurors develop a positive perception of your client—are couched in a cogent wit that is highly entertaining. The author of this book is Jim M. Perdue.

Every Trial lawyer will be entertained and enlightened by Who Will Speak for the Victim? Although it is written by a personal injury plaintiff’s lawyer from that perspective, defense counsel, as well as lawyers engaged in business, corporate, and family law litigation, will find that many of the concepts and principles this book discusses apply equally to their diverse specialties.

Dozens of accounts of actual courtroom scenes illustrate jury persuasion and argument techniques that work–and those that don’t. Basic forensic principles, such as posture, movement, vocal tone and pitch, and verbal content, are explored in these instructive pages, along with more advanced techniques like the art of subliminal persuasion. This readable book will help every trial advocate not only to develop more compelling arguments but also to present summations that are entertaining and provocative.

For the plaintiff’s advocate, special chapters address methods of arguing liability and damages in various types of personal injury cases. The last four chapters present complete summations, taken from actual cases, that tie together the techniques and concepts that are explored separately in earlier chapters.


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Part 1  The Concept of Forensic  Argument

1. Interrelation of Argument and the Case
2. Preparing the Argument

Part 2  Concepts of Persuasion

3. Levels of Communication—Verbal, Vocal, and Physical
4. Subliminal Persuasion
5. Technique Versus Style

Part 3  Physical and Vocal Principles of Argument

6. The Trial Lawyer’s Appearance
7. Posture, Gestures, and Movement
8. Demeanor
9. Mechanics of Speech

Part 4  Verbal Principles of Argument

10. Selection and Use of Words
11. Use of Anecdotes and Poetry
12. Use of Similes, Metaphors, and Analogies
13. Use of Rhetorical Questions and Embedded Commands

Part 5  Argument Strategies

14. Content of Argument
15. How Juries Deliberate

Part 6  Specific Arguments on Liability

16. Arguing Liability—Generally
17. Workers’ Compensation
18. Automobile Cases
19. Premises Injuries
20. Product Liability
21. Medical Malpractice

Part 7  Specific Arguments on Damages

22. Arguing Damages—Generally
23. Physical Pain
24. Mental Anguish
25. Future Damages
26. Loss of Earning Capacity
27. Death

Part 8  Illustrative Arguments

28. The Case of the Redundant Oxygen—A Product Liability Argument
29. The Case of the Nurse Who Wasn’t Borrowed—A Hospital Liability Argument
30. The Case of the Unknown Future—An Automobile Injury Argument
31. The case of the Errant Surgeon—A Surgical Malpractice Argument


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