The Litigation Psychology Podcast

The Litigation Psychology Podcast presented by Courtroom Sciences, Inc. (CSI) is for in-house and outside defense counsel about the intersection of science and litigation. We explore topics of interest to the defense bar, with a particular emphasis on subjects that don‘t get enough attention. Our hosts are Ph.D.-level Social Scientists, Clinical Scientists, and Psychology Experts with a wealth of knowledge about science, research, human behavior, and decision making, which they apply in the context of civil litigation.

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7 days ago

Dr. Steve Wood is joined by CSI Crisis Communications Practice Leader Sean Murphy to discuss the Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard trial. Sean describes how public opinion was being influenced daily during the trial and the narrative that was being communicated in the court of public opinion. Sean shares the approach that should be taken in litigation communications and what seemed to work for Johnny Depp's side and worked against Amber Heard's side during this trial. Steve talks about some elements of Reptile Theory that seemed apparent in closing arguments and they also share their assessment of how Johnny and Amber performed as witnesses, how they responded to questioning and cross-examination, and how they engaged with the jury. They conclude by noting how, although this is celebrity defamation case, its a good case to study to understand how to define and control the narrative of any trial. To watch the video of this episode:

Monday May 30, 2022

Dr. Steve Wood gives an update on The Litigation Psychology Podcast schedule for the summer and a preview of some of the topics that will be featured in new episodes when the podcast returns from a short summer break. Those topics include the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard trial, preparing a former employee for deposition, the fallacy of the reptile brain, social influence in the courtroom, top excuses we hear for not conducting jury research, how to prepare emotional witnesses for testimony, plus many more. To watch the video of this episode:

Monday May 23, 2022

Doug Marcello, Chief Legal Officer with Bluewire, joins the podcast to talk about the genesis of Bluewire and the benefits for trucking and transportation companies. Bluewire software analyzes vulnerabilities for motor carriers and provides recommendations to reduce or eliminate those vulnerabilities. It allows for a strategic, proactive response to help trucking companies avoid nuclear verdicts. Doug also talks about Bluewire Connect which is an online community limited to trucking industry individuals, trucking defense attorneys, and trucking insurance representatives. The Bluewire Connect forum allows for a free and active exchange of ideas and information between members, as well as helping them find information on resources, experts, vendors, etc. that can be of benefit to their business. Lastly, Doug and Bill discuss some of the primary sources of vulnerabilities for trucking companies, plus some of the less obvious vulnerabilities, and the importance of motor carriers having a formal crisis response plan. Watch the video of this episode:

Monday May 16, 2022

Dr. Bill Kanasky, Jr. revisits the very first paper he wrote titled: "Four Lethal but Preventable Mistakes in Civil Litigation". Bill discusses these four mistakes in detail including: #1 making witness prep the last priority; #2 a weak visual presentation; #3 overreliance on expert witnesses; and #4 going on the defensive early. Watch the video of this episode:

Monday May 09, 2022

Baxter Drennon, Partner with Hall Booth Smith in Little Rock, Arkansas, joins the podcast to talk about the different ways the defense can define a win. The definition of a win may not be simply a defense verdict or a zero dollar verdict. The definition of a win needs to be based on the goals of the client and the legal team needs to understand what the client's expectations are. Steve and Baxter talk about a few different ways of defining a "win" including: plaintiff filing a motion for voluntary dismissal; motion for summary judgment granted; mistrial caused by plaintiff's counsel; directive verdict; zero dollars at trial; settlement that is agreeable or avoiding a nuclear verdict; verdict that beats an offer at judgment; verdict less than expected; and less than demand, but not less than expected. Watch the video of this episode:

Monday May 02, 2022

Defense attorney Billy Davis, Partner with Bovis, Kyle, Burch & Medlin in Atlanta, joins the podcast to talk about his experience participating in a recent Courtroom Sciences Corporate Representative Witness Evaluation and Training with his client and provides his perspectives on the difference between standard witness prep and Courtroom Sciences' witness training program. Billy shares his thoughts on how the Corporate Rep witness training allowed his client to evaluate multiple Corporate Rep candidates and how the training helped them see that perhaps the person most knowledgeable may not necessarily be the best choice to serve as the Corporate Rep for the company. Bill and Billy also discuss how doing the training early benefitted the client, the impact of emotion at deposition, and how the speed at which witnesses answer questions is one of the areas of control available to the witness in a deposition. Lastly, they talk about the challenges law firms are experiencing with keeping young associates and what can be done to improve retention. Watch the video of this episode:

Monday Apr 25, 2022

Dr. Bill Kanasky, Jr. covers two critical witness testimony topics: the dangers of long answers and the risks of pivoting. Long answers, which often include commas, are dangerous at deposition and at trial. At deposition, long answers from witnesses lead to the sharing of more information with opposing counsel, which leads to even more questions, and cognitive fatigue of the witness. At trial, the jury can't follow long answers and they get bored.  Witnesses who pivot during testimony open the door to a counter attack. Pivoting just gives plaintiff's counsel more information and then testimony turns into an argument, which the witness can't win.  Lastly, Dr. Kanasky talks about the anchor bias and how, once the anchor is set, all subsequent questions must be answered in the context of the anchor, and the only way to address this is to break down the cognitive schema in advance so witnesses don't fall for the anchor. Watch the video version of this episode:

Monday Apr 18, 2022

Dr. Steve Wood discusses the impact and influence that constant and consistent messaging has on us individually, and on prospective jurors. Steve explains the concept of the Mere Exposure Effect and how the more we are presented with specific topics or ideas, the more we develop thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes about those topics. He also discusses the concept of Social Proof and how our brain processes something ambiguous by following the patterns of other people's behaviors or opinions. Lastly, Steve discusses what can be done to counter specific messaging, particularly as it relates to plaintiff trucking and transportation advertising. A counter offensive is critical since these negative messages are directly influencing the prospective jury pool. Watch the video version of this episode:

Monday Apr 11, 2022

Dr. Bill Kanasky, Jr. lays out what the game plan should be for witnesses before and during testimony. Bill talks about what attorneys need to be doing with witnesses the 24 hours before testimony, the four key things witnesses need to be coached and trained on as part of their preparation, and what witnesses should do during breaks in testimony. Watch the video of this episode:

Monday Apr 04, 2022

James Feeney, Member, Dykama joins Dr. Steve Wood to discuss a recent defense verdict in a traumatic brain injury case. The plaintiff was injured in an vehicular accident and sued the automobile manufacturer for product liability. Jim provides details on how the defense for the case was constructed, what research was done with mock jurors, and the value of testing different combinations of evidence, themes, messaging, etc. in mock trials to help guide trial strategy. Jim also shares his philosophy on offering up alternate damage figures. Lastly, Jim tried this case recently so he also provides his perspective on jury selection and conducting voir dire with Covid restrictions and the challenges of trying a case with a socially distanced jury. Watch the video of this episode:

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