Tag Archive | "Trial"

20th Annual TASC – Trial Advocacy Skills College – Mar. 16-19

Lawyers who attend this powerful training develop trial skills by practicing under the guidance of some of Indiana`s most experienced lawyers and judges in a simulated, friendly courtroom environment. This program is designed to develop the basic trial advocacy skills for lawyers with limited litigation experience while providing experienced trial lawyers an opportunity to sharpen their skills. The teaching method also uses faculty demonstrations and videotaped critique of each participant`s performance. Participants will need to spend time reviewing the fact pattern and working the case information that is used daily. Both faculty and participants will prepare as they would for trial. To Register for the 2017 TASC, Click Here.

While much work is required, the atmosphere is most enjoyable and provides the perfect setting for learning trial skills. Attendees will be introduced to a mix of hands-on, learn-by-doing exercises and lectures to improve trial advocacy in the areas of:

Case Analysis & Communication Skills
 Jury Selection
Opening Statements
Direct & Cross Examination
Examining Expert Witnesses
Exhibits & Demonstrative Evidence
Impeachment & Rehabilitation
Closing Arguments
Professional Responsibility (Ethics)

March 16-19, 2017 – 28 CLE / 3 E
Live In-Person Only! Robert H. McKinney School of Law, Indianapolis, IN 46202

Thursday, March 16, 2017
7:30 A.M.    Registration in Lobby
8:00 A.M.   Orientation
8:30 A.M.   Skills: Case Analysis, Theme Development, Voir Dire & Opening Statements
5:30 P.M.   Adjourn Day 1

Friday, March 17, 2017
8:30 A.M.   Skills: Introduce Evidence, Direct & Cross Examinations
5:15 P.M.    Adjourn Day 2

Saturday, March 18, 2017
8:30 A.M.    Skills: Direct & Cross Expert Witnesses
5:00 P.M.    Adjourn Day 3

Sunday, March 19, 2017
8:30 A.M.   Skills: Finish Direct & Cross, Refresh Recollection & Impeachment, Final Argument
4:30 P.M.   Program Concludes


  • Hon. Melissa S. May, Indiana Court of Appeals, Indianapolis, IN
  • F. Anthony Paganelli, Paganelli Law Group, Indianapolis, IN
  • Patrick A. Shoulders, Partner, Ziemer, Stayman, Weitzel & Shoulders, LLP, Evansville, IN


  • Hon. Robert R. Altice, Jr., Indiana Court of Appeals, Indianapolis, IN
  • Hon. Jane S. Craney, Morgan Superior Court #3, Martinsville, IN
  • Hon. Frances C. Gull, Allen Superior Court, Felony Division, Fort Wayne, IN
  • Hon. Lance D. Hamner, Johnson Superior Court #3, Franklin
  • Hon. Grant W. Hawkins, Marion Superior Court, Criminal 5, Indianapolis, IN
  • Hon. Richard L. Young, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Evansville, IN
  • James H. Austen, Starr Austen & Miller, LLP, Logansport, IN
  • Michael P. Bishop, Cohen Garelick & Glazier, Indianapolis, IN
  • Stephanie L. Cassman, Lewis Wagner, LLP, Indianapolis, IN
  • Robert B. Clemens, Bose McKinney & Evans LLP, Hilton Head Island, SC
  • Robert R. Cline, Chief Deputy Prosecutor, Morgan County Prosecutor’s Office, Martinsville, IN
  • Jessie A. Cook, Law Office of Jessie A. Cook, Terre Haute, IN
  • Ryan O. Farmer, Metzger Rosta LLP, Noblesville, IN
  • Lynnette Gray, Johnson & Gray, Franklin, IN
  • Sarah Graziano, Hensley Legal Group, PC, Indianapolis, IN
  • John F. Kautzman, Ruckelshaus, Kautzman, Blackwell, Bemis & Hasbrook, Indianapolis, IN
  • Too Keller, Keller Macaluso LLC, Carmel, IN
  • William H. Kelley, Kelley & Belcher, Bloomington, IN
  • Larry A. Landis, Indiana Public Defender Council, Indianapolis, IN
  • Kathy A. Lee, Cline Farrell Christie & Lee, PC, Indianapolis, IN
  • Anne C. McGown, Of Counsel, Barnes & Thornburg LLP, Indianapolis, IN
  • Mark A. Metzger, Metzger Rosta LLP, Noblesville, IN
  • Tammy J. Meyer, Metzger Rosta LLP, Noblesville, IN
  • Dane A. Miss, Skiles DeTrude, Indianapolis, IN
  • Stephen A. Oliver, Boren, Oliver & Coffey, LLP, Martinsville, IN
  • Michael Rosiello, Barnes & Thornburg LLP, Indianapolis, IN
  • Mark W. Rutherford, Thrasher Buschmann & Voelkel, P.C., Indianapolis, IN
  • Richard K. Shoultz, Lewis Wagner, LLP, Indianapolis, IN
  • Ralph W. Staples, Jr., Law Offices of Ralph W. Staples, Jr., LTD, Indianapolis, IN
  • Dr. Dennis P. Stolle, President, ThemeVision LLC, Partner, Barnes & Thornburg LLP, Indianapolis, IN
  • Teresa L. Todd, Attorney At Law, Indianapolis, IN
  • Robert F. Wagner, Lewis Wagner, LLP, Indianapolis, IN
  • L. Alan (Skip) Whaley, Ice Miller LLP, Indianapolis, IN


  • Dr. Robert A. Czarkowski, M.D., Orthopedic Surgeon, St. Vincent Sports Medicine, Carmel, IN
  • Dr. Van Evanoff, Jr., MD, Brownsburg, IN
  • William E. Dickinson, Wolf Technical Services, Inc., Indianapolis, IN
  • Stuart B. Nightenhelser, Wolf Technical Services, Inc., Indianapolis, IN

We are pleased to announce that a limited number of partial scholarships are available for attorneys with a financial hardship. Financial support is provided through the generosity of the ICLEF Scholarship Fund, the American Board of Trial Advocates and Ms. Jessie A. Cook. Scholarships are awarded based on financial need, and some preference is given to lawyers with zero to five years experience.

“This was by far the best seminar I have ever attended! The entire program was excellent. Everything was effective.”

“I don’t know that it could have gotten any better. PRICELESS EXPERIENCE!”

“Thanks for changing my life.”

“Course was excellent & the standards are high! Most HIGHLY recommend this course!”

To Register for the 2017 TASC, Click Here.

ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN 

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Law Tips: A Professional’s Advice on Clarity, Compassion and Confidence in the Courtroom

“A trial is a highly prepared, precise operation. A good attorney must engage a jury of ordinary people with complex data and ideas. Like a great work of theatre, all the elements must come together to create a cohesive and vivid picture in the minds of the jurors. But unlike a play, a trial may put real lives, reputations, and fortunes at stake. It is critical that impressions are managed and stories are clear.”

I welcome David Mann, The Professional Education Group, Minneapolis, MN, as our latest Law Tips faculty participant. His comments above are a part of his ICLEF seminar, Advanced Skills of Storytelling and Persuasion for Litigators.” Mr. Mann engages attendees in the key concepts of persuasive delivery and storytelling for lawyers based on techniques drawn from the performing arts. I’ll tell you more about both David and how you can take advantage of his CLE program later in this article. Now, let’s bring the curtain up on his presentation of the keys to clarity, compassion and confidence in the courtroom. David begins by re-examining the central idea of any trial lawyer’s preparation:

Persuasion is about how they’ll hear, not what you’ll say. Though this sounds incredibly simple, it’s actually quite counter-intuitive. We tend to prepare what we say as though we’ll be speaking to ourselves – or someone who thinks like us. But that is rarely the case. In order to be persuasive it is critical to orient your words and ideas to the listener, based on whatever knowledge about them you’re able to gather or perceive.


  • Logical
  • Responds to data
  • Problem-focused
  • Collects pertinent information,analyzes the information, reaches a logical, sound conclusion based on the evidence


  • Emotional
  • Responds to images
  • People-focused
  • Uses general knowledge ofhow life works, constructs a story, uses data to justify their emotional conclusion

There is a gap between these two very different thinking styles, and bridging that gap should be the primary focus of a lawyer’s communication preparation for trial. Understanding and navigating the dynamic between the logical, data-driven lawyer and the emotional, image-driven jury is key to persuasion. With this in mind, it becomes clear that the story of the case and each individual story within it must be clear, human, and engaging in order to be persuasive.

A jury sits in an unfamiliar environment (the courtroom), absorbing a tremendous amount of unfamiliar material (the case), and is asked to make a fair judgment of right or wrong. If a lawyer doesn’t take this into consideration, it becomes easy to inadvertently talk over their heads and not engage them. It’s critical that an attorney makes every effort to resonate with a jury as a credible authority whom they can trust to speak their language and guide them through this unfamiliar landscape. Managing your presentation to communicate humanness (trust and likability) as well as authority (knowledge and confidence) will be perceived by the jury as credibility long before any facts emerge.

The Myth of Natural

Though the importance of delivery is undisputed, it’s common for lawyers to spend much less time practicing it than they do preparing the rest of the case. The prevailing idea- as it is for salespeople, teachers, politicians, etc.- is that all you need to do is simply “be yourself” at the moment of truth. But that’s when things go wrong, because it becomes painfully clear that there is no such thingas a “natural” delivery under such artificial circumstances. Actors know very well how much work goes into appearing to be natural and relaxed, on cue, every time. The same truth is key to every lawyer’s success. Learning how to manage your face, body, gestures, and vocal inflections is a skill unto itself. There’s nothing natural about it at all. But with practice, a lawyer can develop a courtroom persona that “reads” as natural to juries, witnesses, and judges, and projects the authenticity they want to convey.

Perception of Meaning

Human beings perceive much more about a speaker’s intention from non-verbal cues than from the words themselves. It always important to consider this, especially when constructing openings and summations. The human face has tens of thousands of subtle combinations of eye, mouth, and brow movements that are all associated with certain intentions. Likewise, the human voice has a virtually limitless capacity for expression using combinations of tone, pace, and volume. And tiny shifts of the shoulders, arms, legs, and hands can communicate enormous amounts of meaning to a jury. Ideally this unspoken 93% is consistent with your spoken message. But pay attention. Sometimes it can dramatically undercut what you’re saying and elicit an unwanted response.

The word “subtext” is not a word that is often used outside the art of theatre. The concept, however, is present in every act of human communication. It’s the idea that there is an entirely separate message being conveyed that exists “under” the words. For lawyers, there are specific subtext messages that are desirable and others that are not. A good lawyer acts as a conduit between the case and the jury, giving a human face to the otherwise complex and static trial data. Much of this is of course is done with words, but always remember to navigate the subtext as its own communication layer, filled with persuasive possibility.

The Three Cs

For persuasive power with ordinary people – the jury – three principles must be present: Clarity, Compassion and Confidence. Without clarity, nothing else can happen; without compassion (humanness), it’s just a recitation of facts. Only once those two factors are established does it become important to project your knowledge and authority.

It’s intermission time in David Mann’s discussion of integral persuasion skills for litigators. Return to Law Tips next week when he takes you into the specifics of rhetorical delivery…. “Although it is unnecessary for a lawyer to have the vocal and physical dexterity of an actor, there are many areas where a lawyer’s persuasive power will increase by managing the two tools of rhetorical delivery: voice and body.”


About our Law Tips faculty participant:
David Mann is a speaker, trainer, and professional actor/director. He has a specialized focus on persuasive presentation for lawyers, and he is on the faculty of NITA (National Institute for Trial Advocacy) and Loyola School of Law.  A professional theater artist for over two decades, David has performed or directed for many recognized theatre companies.  He has written and performed five critically acclaimed one-man shows, and he is a recipient of a Bush Artist Fellowship for Storytelling.  David is a graduate of Northwestern University, and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.  If you have questions for David or would like to inquire about his coaching, contact him at david@davidcmann.com. For speaking engagements go to the Professional Education Group at proedgroup.com.


ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN

Posted in Law Blogs, Law Tips0 Comments

Amateur Life Coach Answers, “How do I Prepare for Trial?”

Amateur Life Coach Answers, “How do I Prepare for Trial?”

James J. Bell, ICLEF's Amateur Life Coach

The Amateur Life Coach (also known as attorney James J. Bell of Bingham Greenebaum Doll) is back to dispense his unique thoughts, advice and wisdom to his real and imagined viewers…

This week our question comes from Neurotic in New Albany….


Dear Lifecoach:

My first jury trial is coming up and I’m freaking out! What can I do to calm my nerves?

Neurotic in New Albany


Dear Neurotic:

Slow down, take a deep breath and follow these simple steps.

Step #1: Find the Root Cause of Your Anxiety
You may be feeling pressure because the Wise Old Attorney (WOA) just told you it’s your job to win the jury trial. Well, as shown below, it’s not.

And you shouldn’t listen to the WOA anyway. He desperately wants the world to view him as some sort of gladiator, so he hung a quote from General Patton on his office wall that says: “Battle is the most magnificent competition in which a human can indulge. It brings out all that is best.” He constantly corners associates to spin various yarns about his trial battles. (For example, we’ve all heard on multiple occasions about the time when he caused a wee Irish geologist to admit on the stand that his blue diamonds were really just marshmallows. A Perry Mason moment indeed!)

There’s a reason they call war stories “stories” and there’s a really good reason the WOA ends his stories before he tells you about the jury’s verdict. And when was the last time you saw this supposed gladiator “gladiate?” Or step into a courtroom? Or even leave his office?

So disregard anything the WOA says on this topic. If the WOA wasn’t so interested in inter-firm marketing his “warrior” image, he would’ve put the second part of that Patton quote on the wall which says “All men are afraid in battle. The coward is the one who lets his fear overcome his sense of duty.”

So a little case of the nerves is natural and some extra adrenaline may be necessary, but “freaking out” helps no one. After all, there’s so much to figure out: opening statement, the direct examination of your client and the proper pronunciation of “voir dire.” So get out of the fetal position and get down to business.

Remember: you don’t deliver verdicts. Only judges and juries do. Your job is to put your client in the best position to obtain a verdict.

Step #2: Take Care of Things At Home Before You Prepare
Before you begin your final trial preparation, go ahead and apologize to your family. “Trial mode” is a little like Bill Bixbey turning into a muscular green monster and you shouldn’t wait until after you’ve gone all “Christian Bale” or “Bob Knight” or “Christian Bale as Bob Knight as The Dark Knight in Celebrity Meltdown” to apologize to your significant other or children. Give your loved ones a preemptive “I’m sorry” now and a gift that costs the same as three of your billable hours (per Martha Stewart).

Also, you need to get out of your house and down to the office. You might think it’ll be good for your family life if you work from home here and there over the course of the weekend. Wrong. The opposite is true. If you stay at home and try to play Uno with your 4 year old while you’re obsessing over what could go wrong at trial, your daughter will feel you’re ignoring her, have her feelings hurt and worst of all, you’ll forget to say “Uno” when you have one card left. It could cost you the game.

So leaving the house will help your family life. It will prevent you from ignoring your kids or growling at your spouse. It will be addition by subtraction and your family will thank you later.

Step #3: Prepare
Write out your closing argument first and then make sure that there is a piece of evidence that supports every argument. You probably think you know what you want to say in your closing, but until you put it on paper (or a computer screen) and look at what you are doing, your thoughts will not be succinct. You won’t be able to evaluate your arguments and see which ones really work. Bad arguments kill credibility. Discarding bad arguments (and therefore dropping the corresponding meaningless evidence) will help you become the organized, knowledgeable and therefore, credible lawyer you need to be at trial.

Once you get your argument written down, the rest is easy. (Well, easier.) Your voir dire and opening statement themes will be contained in the closing argument. And so will every question you wish to ask of a witness. If one of the other side’s witnesses testifies and it does not affect your closing argument, maybe this is a time to simply stand before the jury and show them that you’re not there to waste their time and say “no questions.”

And this is more tedious than it sounds. You’re going to have to review that entire file and pull your client’s story out of those dusty documents. This means wading through those dictionary-sized depositions you conducted a year ago and getting over the fact that you say “um” a lot.

Beware that as you study these depositions, you’ll realize that you’re not perfect and that you didn’t ask every deposition question perfectly. There will be small holes in your preparation. Don’t take this opportunity to freak out.

Fine. Go ahead and freak out. But just a little. This is a marathon, not a sprint. After three minutes of freaking out, get back to work.

Step #4: Exercise and Eat Right.
These are two things you must not do during trial. Your body may be a temple, but you’re in a court of law. That means you have to eat, drink, and (not) sleep this trial. Let the adrenaline course through your veins for the next five days and then rot inside your body for a month afterward, all in the name of justice. (Editor’s Note: The ALC is a juris doctor, not a medical doctor. Please consult with your primary care physician before eating or drinking a trial or letting anything rot inside your body.)

Step #5: Maintain Good Karma
Sometimes jury verdicts come down to something we can’t explain. I’ll just call it karma. Could the result of your case come down to karma? For your sake, let’s hope not. But it’s never too late to stop parking in the handicap parking space. Maybe you should leave a big tip for housekeeping at the hotel or make a donation to the SPCA so Sarah McLachlan will stop singing that song. That’s a win-win-win.

Step #6: Worry About Preparation, Not the Result.
The WOA once said that the three secrets to winning a trial were “Preparation! Preparation! And most importantly, Preparation!” That’s the only time the WOA got it right.

Trials are unpredictable. You can do everything right and still come up empty. Just remember that you didn’t pick the judge, you didn’t create the facts and you didn’t choose the jury. Well, you sort of did choose the jury, but you didn’t write the law. So stop sweating the many things at trial you can’t control.

And before you leave to the office to go to court, walk past the WOA’s office and enter Milk Toast Mary’s office. She has a quote on the wall from Mahatma Gandhi that says “Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment, full effort is full victory.” Milk Toast Mary may not be the best marketer, but she is smart.

You know your case, you have given “full effort” and you‘re ready to obtain “full victory.” Go get your evidence in, and make your best arguments. Trials can be fun, so don’t let self-doubt be the wet blanket that ruins the party.

I’m the Amateur Lifecoach and I hope this helps.


Now, you can also “like” the Amateur Life Coach at Facebook!  Visit his facebook account today and catch up on his day-to-day activities.

Questions for the Amateur Life Coach?  Email them to scottking@iclef.org or @JamesJBell on Twitter.

Written and performed by James J. Bell. Produced by the Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum.
This video is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional advice.


James focuses his practice in the areas of criminal defense; attorney discipline defense and health care law. As a Marion County Public Defender, he represented clients in numerous jury and bench trials. James also represents clients in juvenile delinquency, appeals and post-conviction proceedings. James is a frequent ICLEF speaker on ethics, trial practice and criminal procedure. James just completed his first semester as an adjunct professor at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law where he teaches a course on professional responsibility. To date, no student has yet stood on their desk and shouted “Oh captain, my captain!” Follow James on Twitter @jamesjbell

ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN

Posted in Amateur Life Coach, Sale/Featured Items0 Comments

Family Law Case Review: Trial Court Denies Transfer to “Preferred Venue”

Case: Joan Strozewski v. James Strozewski
by Mike Kohlhaas, Bingham Greenebaum Doll

HELD: In a dissolution matter, the Petitioner’s satisfaction of the statutory requirement to have lived in Indiana for six months, and in the county of filing for three months, establishes, without more, the preferred venue of that county, and a change of venue to another county of preferred venue is not permitted.

Husband and Wife married in 1970. In 2014, Husband filed a petition for dissolution in Hamilton County. At the time of filing, Husband had been a lifelong resident of Indiana, and had lived in Hamilton county for at least three months. However, Wife lived in St. Joseph County and the marital residence was located in St. Joseph County.

Wife moved to transfer the matter to the “preferred venue” of St. Joseph County. The trial court denied the motion, from which Wife filed an interlocutory appeal.

The Court of Appeals reviewed Trial Rule 75 and the concept of “preferred venue.” In a given case, preferred venue can exist in more than county. However, once a matter is in a preferred venue county, there is no basis in Trial Rule 75 to transfer the case to another preferred venue county.

Under the divorce statutes and Trial Rule 75(A)(8), Husband’s satisfaction of the residential jurisdictional requirements for Indiana and Hamilton County, without more, conferred preferred venue upon Hamilton County. The fact that St. Joseph County might also be a site of preferred venue is not relevant. “[I]f an action is filed in a county of preferred venue, change of venue cannot be granted.”

The trial court’s order denying Wife’s motion to transfer venue to St. Joseph County was affirmed.

To view the text of this opinion in its entirety, click here: Joan Strozewski v. James Strozewski


James A. Reed and Michael R. Kohlhaas of Bingham Greenebaum Doll represent clients in a wide spectrum of relationship transition and wealth planning matters, including premarital agreements, estate planning, cohabitation, separation, divorce (especially involving high net worth individuals and/or complex asset issues), custody, parenting arrangements, adoption, and domestic partnerships. Bingham Greenebaum Doll, a multidisciplinary law firm serving regional, national, and international clients, is the fourth-largest law firm in Indiana. The firm’s main practices include corporate, property, litigation, labor, government law, and personal services law. Visit the firm’s website at www.bgdlegal.com.

Posted in Family Law Case Review0 Comments

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