Empowering the Client
Creating powerful narratives for a judge or jury goes beyond simplifying the content, it requires a high-level of interpersonal skills. As a trial consultant, it is necessary to work with clients to gain a deep understanding of personal styles, strengths, and team dynamics. Being able to support the human and relationship aspect of a trial team is an often intangible, but deeply rewarding part of the position and critical to a successful process.
In an employment discrimination matter against a major national retailer an unwieldy team composed of three different non-profit legal organizations and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) came together to defend a woman who had been fired for wearing hijab at work. The prosecution team came to us with varying motivations for their involvement and little experience in going to trial. A key challenge for our team of consultants was to resolve their varying perspectives into a single, cohesive message.
We hosted a series of in-depth trial strategy meetings, working with the team to externalize and examine their goals and shape how to best tell the client's story. Using brainstorming, creative collaboration, and reflection, we aligned the narrative from the victimized woman's first-hand perspective, rather than a legal perspective, and strategically narrowed our story by evaluating the other side’s weaknesses.
What I Loved
As one of our Pro Bono matters, I felt particularly passionate about defending our client as an individual, while also fighting a systemic discrimination policy. This matter was a learning experience in how to create effective team dynamics and negotiate among competing ideas. Success came by ensuring each party felt heard and included.
Chris Ritter, Jim Stiff, drawings done by Ina Lim