What are the most important weapons a personal injury lawyer brings to court? Give up? OK, I’ll tell you: words.
Words are the arrows in the personal injury lawyer’s quiver. The “mot juste” (the right word), as the French say, can make all the difference. That’s why the best New York personal injury lawyers spend lots of time before a trial deciding what words to use in describing what happened to their client, and how they are suffering as a result.
Don’t think words matter that much? Watch this short video and you might change your mind:
So there you have it. A personal injury lawyer representing a blind client, let’s call him Bill, can stand up at summation and say, “ladies and gentlemen, Bill is blind”. Or he can say, “ladies and gentlemen, I just took Bill out for lunch during recess. As you know, it’s a beautiful day out there. [pause]. But Bill couldn’t see it. (note: much of the power of the words is unleashed by skillful use of the voice, intonation, emphasis, and pauses. This obviously cannot be transcribed).
Yes, words are powerful weapons. The late Moe Levine, one of the best New York personal injury lawyers who ever lived, delivered one of the most famous summations in a personal injury trial in New York. The words he chose mattered. He was representing a man who had lost both arms. In his summation, he could have rattled on and on about what it was like for his client to live without any arms. But he chose to make it simple and to the point, and very, very graphic. He told the jury that he had just taken his client to lunch at a restaurant across the street. Then, after a long pause, he said, “he eats like a DOG“! Then he sat down. The jury gave his armless client the biggest New York personal injury verdict ever recorded until that day.
The best lawyers find, and use, the best words.
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