When it comes to major case hearings, lawyers always have a lot to say. However, how the sentences that come out isn’t always what they expect. I conducted an interview with Chris Stoy, which is a Fort Worth personal injury lawyer at Hutchison & Stoy and had him list some of the most common statements that you never want to hear yourself say in court.
Here are 5 statements lawyers should never say in court:
“Can I please have a few minutes to sort out this issue?”
Fixing any sort of issue, especially technical glitches, during the middle of a hearing is something you don’t want to do in court. However, this is one statement that many lawyers end up saying from time to time. While there are some exceptions of technical difficulties that cannot be controlled, most problems are easily preventable. In cases like these, it is always best to have a backup plan.
“You might not be to see this clearly, but here it is.”
If valuable evidence is not clearly shown, why would the juror and judge include it in their decision? Make sure that whatever you plan to show is clearly visible. This is one of the most common mistakes we see in court. A good presentation provides high-quality text and projectors that include equipment, proper font sizes, and more. Be sure to use texts no smaller than 25. Small problems like these can easily be avoided. However, it is one of the most common PowerPoint mistakes litigators make.
“You can take my word for it.”
Litigators often catch themselves saying things like “you can take my word for it” or “believe me.” However, as a litigator, it is your job to prove the evidence to the case. If you find yourself saying something like this, it ruins the effect of the presentation and becomes an inadequate exercise for visual quality. The juror will take it as an excuse to explain your errors. With all the quality testing tools available, there is no excuse to make this statement and be unprepared.
“Put yourself in their position”
Known as the “Golden Rule” in the courtroom, this statement alone creates a negative approach to the case. Yet, we still see lawyers, even from the top law firms making this mistake over and over. The statement is meant to ask the jury to put themselves in their client’s shoes. However, it may do more harm than good. The purpose of the statement is to really help the jury understand. However, there is a line between how it is said and delivered. Avoid statements like “imagine if you were in their place and suffering or “reward my client the same as you would expect to receive.”
“Check out my next bullet point.”
Generally, the use of bullet points on slides must be avoided. This court will be forced to read them rather than listen to your presentation. Additionally, it is important to understand that you must not speak and show at the same time.
Keep these statements in mind for your next court presentation. Knowing what not to say will help guide you in better performance and in results.