My vision for our criminal-defense skunkworks is that each of us will choose a discipline that interests him or her, review the literature, attend classes or seminars, and try applying it in trial, all the while collaborating with the rest of us (who will have chosen different disciplines to investigate).
You know about the Trial Lawyers College, where Gerry Spence teaches psychodrama to lawyers. That’s a great example of a helpful discipline being applied to the trial of cases (there, both plaintiffs’ cases and criminal-defense cases). But it’s not the be-all and end-all. There are lots of other fields of study that could make use better lawyers, or help us communicate better with jurors, or help us tell stories better, or help us cross-examine witnesses better.
A few examples, some of which I’ve investigated a bit:
- Improvisational theatre;
- Martial arts of one sort or another (the philosophy of Aikido, for example);
- Sociological research into authoritarianism.
“Aikido”? You ask. Yes, the less obvious the connection to defending the accused, the better.
The PI lawyers have put a lot more energy into investigating this sort of thing than we have, I think because of the additional financial motivation there. I’m sure we could find a half-dozen things to investigate just by seeing what the injury lawyers are trying.