2 answers

How does one become an likable attorney?

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I am currently doing mock trial at my college and plan to go to law school after I finish (if I can afford it at that point.) I feel that an attorney has to be likable in the minds of the jurors to help his/her side win a case. How would I achieve that vote? #law-practice

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R’s Answer

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Hey Paul,


How does one become a likable attorney? That is a great question. I'm sure if you asked 20 people, you could get 20 different answers.


To be a likable attorney is, first, to be a likable person. Show respect towards everyone; have manners; have emotion, be able to smile, or to get passionate; and above all else, show humility.


Second, you have to demonstrate that you are a competent attorney. Show that you are well-prepared, have mastery of the topic at hand, well-spoken, have a sense of confidence and calmness, well-groomed, and well-focused.


Don't forget to be a normal human being. Good luck with your path!

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Kim’s Answer

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Hi Paul!

I'm going to attempt to answer this question, based upon a limited observation of attorneys. But before I get to that, please realize that the jury trial may be an endangered species. Jury trials are cost prohibitive, often for both parties (one might be unable to afford it financially, others might want to avoid negative publicity, etc), resulting in an increasing number of cases settling out of court.

I was a civil litigant in an Employment Law case. It was very important to me that my attorney possess the "likeable" trait. I have observed him in various situations. He was very likeable, but did not let that stand in the way of doing his job.

I think there are several aspects to this that I observed with him. First and foremost was manners. It is clear that he was raised from a young age to be respectful of everyone, and to treat certain people with deference, such as judges and elders. Definitely watch how you address the jury. Explain what needs to be explained, but don't talk down to them. Watch how you treat the opposing party's witnesses, and counsel. Be mindful that you are being watched at all times, including in the hall, at lunch, etc.

Second, pick your battles. While you owe your client zealous representation, I have seen attorneys object to everything. Everything. If a witness says that Los Angeles is in California, they object. It's necessary to raise every objection to preserve error for appeal, but don't get carried away with it.

Tell a story. Get the jury to be actively involved in the trial, to feel a connection to the case, rather than resenting it as a waste of time.

Body language. Body language speaks volumes, as does tone of voice, and facial expressions. When you need to make a major point by exposing a witness, set it up, get it done, but then go right back to being yourself, without gloating.

Be organized and prepared. Don't waste the court's time, or the jury's time. Be on time!

I think it is really cool that you are doing mock trial!

Keep up the excellent preparation!

Kim




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