In NITA’s case file, Quinlan v. Kane, Third Edition, at what point does a friendly conversation end and a business consultation begin? That is the question explored in this business contracts case file written by authors Frank D. Rothschild, Deanne C. Siemer, and Anthony J. Bocchino.
The plaintiff, Roberta Quinlan, demands a broker fee of $300,000 that she is convinced she is entitled to be paid for her services as a business broker. The defendant, Brian Kane, however, maintains that Quinlan simply offered friendly advice on the sale of his business, Kane Electronics, to Nita Computer World and therefore he owes her no fee. There are two witnesses for both the plaintiff and the defendant. This third edition also includes a CD that contains video deposition clips, exhibits, and a PowerPoint slide show.
Retail Price: $38
You know Brian Johnson and Marsha Hunter from their role as faculty in NITA programs and as authors of their popular series of “articulate” books on legal communication skills, The Articulate Advocate, The Articulate Attorney, and The Articulate Witness. Now there’s another way to gain the wisdom of their experience: through their video series Courtroom Communication Skills That Give You the Edge.
This series will teach you the winning technique the art of advocacy requires. Other programs teach you what to say in court; this series teaches you how you say it persuasively. Learn to speak persuasively as you think on your feet. Channel that adrenaline rush into compelling delivery. Find that zone of concentration where you reliably remember what to say next. Based on cutting-edge discoveries in brain research, gesture studies, linguistics, and sports psychology, Johnson and Hunter apply the 21st-century science of human factors to courtroom advocacy.
The six-part series, nearly 2½ hours in duration, features the following lessons:
• Finding Your Style: A Lesson in Persuasion
• Channeling Adrenaline for a Greater Presence in the Courtroom
• What Should You Do with Your Hands? The Definitive Answer
• Mastering the Art of Thinking, Structuring, and Remembering
• More Tools for Courtroom Persuasion
• Win Your Case: How to Practice
To purchase the video series, click here.
The Verdict, the quarterly magazine of the Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia, reviews NITA books from time to time. Today, we are delighted to share Michael Sporer’s review of Modern Trial Advocacy: Canada, by NITA authors Steven Lubet, Cynthia Tape, and Lisa Talbot, reprinted below with permission and in its entirety. Our thanks to the Trial Lawyers Association for their interest and support of NITA publications.
Modern Trial Advocacy: Canada (Third Edition)
Steven Lubet, Cynthia Tape, Lisa Talbot
NITA, 2010, 481 pages
Reviewed by Mike Sporer, Sporer Mah and Company
Older lawyers who are also hockey fans will remember the Wild West days in Queen’s Park Arena when Ernie “Punch” McLean coached the New Westminster Bruins. But it wasn’t all madness and mayhem. McLean’s teams earned four straight Memorial Cup appearances from 1975‒1978, winning the Cup twice.
The Bruins took the trophy in 1977, but the 1977‒1978 team had fallen short on talent. Barry Beck, Brad Maxwell, and other stars, had graduated. No one expected the hard-working team of grinders, led by Stan Smyl, to go deep in the 1978 playoffs. But the Bruins, after a mediocre regular season, won four straight playoff series, again earning the right to represent the Western Hockey League at the Memorial Cup, held in Ontario, at Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie.
The underdog Bruins arrived in Sudbury and were promptly crushed 7‒2 by the Ontario champion Peterborough Petes. The mighty Petes, coached by Gary Green, with strategic input from former Petes head coach (and later NHL legend) Roger Nielsen, used an effective centre ice press to bottle up their opponents. The Bruins lost once more to the Petes at the tournament, but, due to the round robin format, were able to survive the two losses, beat the Quebec champs Trois-Rivières, and earn a right to play the Petes one more time in the final game.
The final was to be played in Sudbury. Punch McLean took the Bruins out to Sault Ste. Marie, where no one could see what they were working on. There, in a locked down arena, he unveiled a completely different break-out plan, that would have a Bruins defenceman come up the centre of the ice to break the Peterborough press. For over two hours, Punch drilled the new break-out plan into the team.
When the final game started, this time it was different. The underdog Bruins took an early lead, and before the confused Petes could adjust to their opponent’s pre-game plan, they were behind the eight ball. The Bruins never looked back, went on to win 7‒3, and claimed their second consecutive Memorial Cup.
Pre-trial planning is like pre-game planning—a must. It can make all the difference. And pre-trial planning is where Professor Steven Lubet, Williams Memorial Professor of Law at Northwestern University, begins his outstanding treatise, Modern Trial Advocacy. The book, written for American trial lawyers, has a Third Canadian Edition titled Modern Trial Advocacy: Canada, with modifications provided by two Canadian trial lawyers from Ontario, Cynthia Tape and Lisa Talbot. But any recent edition—Canadian or American—will do. It covers all the basic aspects of trial—from pre-trial planning to closing argument—and is the single best introduction to trial advocacy available.
Lubet explains the pre-trial steps that he considers a must. He shows the importance of developing a trial theme—the “moral force” behind the case—and explains how to prepare a persuasive trial story.
He covers the essentials of case theory planning and development, highlighting the fundamentals of a good case theory: it must be simple, logical, and easy to believe. If there is room to criticize Professor Lubet—and there is very little—he might, in places, have simplified his discussion of case theories to articulate more clearly the important distinction between factual and legal theories of a case. But in any event, his discussion of the subject is still very good, and the lessons he offers are of great value.
Lubet’s most important single piece of advice relates to pre-trial planning: start by preparing final argument. “Good trial preparation begins at the end,” says Lubet. “It makes great sense to plan your final argument first.”
This bit of basic advice remains a cornerstone of any pre-trial preparation, yet it remains overlooked by many. As another great advocate once said, a trial is no place to be writing a closing argument. Tinker with it at trial? Certainly. How the evidence unfolds will require that. But it should be no more than tinkering, and Lubet’s book, in its discussion of pre-trial planning, puts first things first.
Lubet takes the reader from pre-trial planning through all the phases of trial, with excellent discussions of direct examination, cross examination, impeachment, expert evidence, foundations and exhibits, opening, and final argument. As he always does, Professor Lubet dedicates a considerable amount of space to important issues of legal ethics, including a very good discussion of the ethics of persuasive storytelling.
There are books that cover particular aspects of case planning and trial work more thoroughly—but none covers it all so effectively. This is a treatise. Lawyers called for less than five years should not be without Modern Trial Advocacy. Experienced trial lawyers would be unwise not to keep a copy on their shelves.
In State v. Peyton, Taylor Addison suffered first and second degree burns when her parked vehicle was sideswiped, spilling coffee over her left hand. No vehicle stopped after the accident, but Addison claims she saw a car identifiable as Jordan Peyton’s driving away from the scene. Peyton has pled not guilty to all charges and claims that she did not collide with Addison’s car.
This second edition of State v. Peyton adds social media evidence to a case that also provides student opportunities to consider criminal trial issues such as medical expert testimony, character evidence, bias impeachment, and much more.
Author Elizabeth Boals has also created an extensive teaching manual to not only help the professor with testimony but to provide skill exercises in the rules of evidence, refreshing recollection, impeachment by omission and more.
Retail Price: $38
The latest edition of NITA’s pocket-size book, Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, incorporates the amendments that went into effect December 1, 2016, including the changes to Rules 4 (Arrest Warrant or Summons on a Complaint), 41 (Search and Seizure), and 45 (Computing and Extending Time). Stay up-to-date with this easily portable reference (also available in eBook) that you can take on the go!
Retail Price: $25