Examination of seven famous trials, each concluding with an evaluation of the trial by a lawyer, judge, law professor, or communication scholar.
The Washington Post coverage of the John Hinckley case preceding the trial demonstrates the effects media may have on a trial. The Haymarket riot trial serves as an example of opening statements in a storytelling form.
By analyzing the trial of Bruno Richard Hauptmann, Schuetz and Snedaker explain direct examination according to its purpose, legal rules, ordering of witnesses, verbal and nonverbal techniques of interrogation, and tactics for introducing evidence.
The cross-examination in the Sacco-Vanzetti case shows how advocates enhance or decrease their persuasiveness by adopting communication maneuvers. Closing arguments in the Rosenberg trial took the form of a refutative story with a dual persuasive and instructional content.
The Supreme Court appeal in the Sam Sheppard case demonstrates the procedures, form, content, and style of arguments of appellate briefs. The Chicago Eight trial is an example of trial as theatre.
"An important and thought-provoking addition to the literature on the ethics of lawyers."
---Kimberly Kirkland, Franklin Pierce Law Center
The Consciousness of the Litigator investigates the role of the lawyer in modern American political and social life and in the judicial process, and plumbs lawyers' perceptions of themselves, their work, and, especially, their sense of right and wrong.
In so doing, the book sheds light on the unique and little-examined subject of the moral mind of the litigator, whose work extends to all corners of society and whose primary expertise---making legal arguments---is the fundamental skill of all lawyers.
The Consciousness of the Litigator stands with Michael Kelly's Lives of Lawyers as a must-read for the many law students, scholars, and practicing litigators who struggle to balance ethical questions with the dictates of their highly commercialized profession.
In class actions, attorneys effectively hire clients rather than act as their agent. Lawyer-financed, lawyer-controlled, and lawyer-settled, this entrepreneurial litigation invites lawyers to act in their own interest. John Coffee’s goal is to save class action, not discard it, and to make private enforcement of law more democratically accountable.
How does one prove the law? If your neighbor breaks your window, the law regulates how you can show your claim to be true or false; but how do you prove that in breaking your window your neighbor has broken the law? American jurisprudence devotes an elaborate body of doctrine—and an equally elaborate body of accompanying scholarly commentary—to worrying about how to prove facts. It establishes rules for the admissibility of evidence, creates varying standards of proof, and assigns burdens of proof that determine who wins or loses when the facts are unclear. But the law is shockingly inexplicit when addressing these issues with respect to the proof of legal claims. Indeed, the entire language of evidentiary proof, so sophisticated when it comes to questions of fact, is largely absent from the American legal system with respect to questions of law.
As Gary Lawson shows, legal claims are inherently objects of proof, and whether or not the law acknowledges the point openly, proof of legal claims is just a special case of the more general norms governing proof of any claim. As a result, similar principles of evidentiary admissibility, standards of proof, and burdens of proof operate, and must operate, in the background of claims about the law. This book brings these evidentiary principles for proving law out of the shadows so that they can be analyzed, clarified, and discussed. Viewing legal problems through this lens of proof illuminates debates about everything from constitutional interpretation to the role of stipulations in litigation. Rather than prescribe resolutions to any of those debates, Evidence of the Law instead provides a set of tools that can be used to make those debates more fruitful, whatever one’s substantive views may be. As lawyers, judges, and legal subjects confront uncertainty about what the law is, they can, should, and must, Lawson argues, be guided by the same kinds of abstract considerations, structures, and doctrines long used to make determinations about questions of fact.
Sometimes the outcome of a lawsuit depends upon sensations known only to the person who experiences them, such as the buzzing sound heard by a plaintiff who suffers from tinnitus after an accident. Lawyers, litigants, and expert witnesses are now seeking to re-create these sensations in the courtroom, using digital technologies to simulate litigants’ subjective experiences and thus to help jurors know—not merely know about—what it is like to be inside a litigant’s mind. But with this novel type of evidence comes a host of questions: Can anyone really know what it is like to have another person’s sensory experiences? Why should courts allow jurors to see or hear these simulations? And how might this evidence alter the ways in which judges and jurors do justice?
In Experiencing Other Minds in the Courtroom, Neal Feigenson turns the courtroom into a forum for exploring the profound philosophical, psychological, and legal ramifications of our efforts to know what other people’s conscious experiences are truly like. Drawing on disciplines ranging from cognitive psychology to psychophysics to media studies, Feigenson harnesses real examples of digitally simulated subjective perceptions to explain how the epistemological value of this evidence is affected by who creates it, how it is made, and how it is presented. Through his close scrutiny of the different kinds of simulations and the different knowledge claims they make, Feigenson is able to suggest best practices for how we might responsibly incorporate such evidence into the courtroom.
On October 21, 1996, attorney Michael Hausfeld, with a team of lawyers, filed a class-action complaint against Union Bank of Switzerland, Swiss Bank Corporation, and Credit Suisse on behalf of Holocaust victims. The suit accused the banks of, among other things, acting as the chief financiers for Nazi Germany. On August 12, 1998, the plaintiffs and banks reached a $1.25 billion settlement.
Through detailed research, court transcripts, and interviews with politicians, attorneys, historians, and survivors, Jane Schapiro shows how egos, personalities, and values clashed in this complex and emotionally charged case. Inside a Class Action provides an insider's view of a major lawsuit from its inception to its conclusion and will appeal to anyone interested in human rights, reparations, and international law.
Some describe civil litigation as little more than a drag on the economy; Others hail it as the solution to most of the country’s problems. Stephen C. Yeazell argues that both positions are wrong. Deeply embedded in our political and economic systems, civil litigation is both a system for resolving disputes and a successful business model, a fact that both its opponents and its fans do their best to conceal.
Lawsuits in a Market Economy explains how contemporary civil litigation in the United States works and how it has changed over the past century. The book corrects common misconceptions—some of which have proved remarkably durable even in the face of contrary evidence—and explores how our constitutional structure, an evolving economy, and developments in procedural rules and litigation financing systems have moved us from expecting that lawsuits end in trial and judgments to expecting that they will end in settlements. Yeazell argues that today’s system has in some ways overcome—albeit inconsistently—disparities between the rich and poor in access to civil justice. Once upon a time, might regularly triumphed over right. That is slightly less likely today—even though we continue to witness enormous disparities in wealth and power.
The book concludes with an evaluation of recent changes and their possible consequences.
This book examines the potential of litigation as a strategy to advance the right to health by holding governments accountable for these obligations. It asks who benefits both directly and indirectly—and what the overall impacts on health equity are. Included are case studies from Costa Rica, South Africa, India, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia.
Why do Americans seem to sue at the slightest provocation? The answer may surprise you: we don’t! For every “Whiplash Charlie” who sees a car accident as a chance to make millions, for every McDonald’s customer to pursue a claim over a too-hot cup of coffee, many more Americans suffer injuries but make no claims against those responsible or their insurance companies. The question is not why Americans sue but why we don’t sue more often, and the answer can be found in how we think about injury and personal responsibility.
With this book, David M. Engel demolishes the myth that America is a litigious society. The sobering reality is that the vast majority of injury victims—more than nine out of ten—rely on their own resources, family and friends, and government programs to cover their losses. When real people experience serious injuries, they don’t respond as rational actors. Trauma and pain disrupt their thoughts, and potential claims are discouraged by negative stereotypes that pervade American television and popular culture. (Think Saul Goodman in Breaking Bad, who keeps a box of neck braces in his office to help clients exaggerate their injuries.) Cultural norms make preventable injuries appear inevitable—or the victim’s fault. We’re taught to accept setbacks stoically and not blame someone else. But this tendency to “lump it” doesn’t just hurt the victims; it hurts us all. As politicians continue to push reforms that miss the real problem, we risk losing these claims as a way to quickly identify unsafe products and practices. Because injuries disproportionately fall on people with fewer resources, the existing framework creates a social underclass whose needs must be met by government programs all citizens shoulder while shielding those who cause the harm.
It’s time for America to have a more responsible, blame-free discussion about injuries and the law. With The Myth of the Litigious Society, Engel takes readers clearly and powerfully through what we really know about injury victims and concludes with recommendations for how we might improve the situation.
Once upon a time, virtually no one in the academy thought to sue over campus disputes, and, if they dared, judges bounced the case on grounds that it was no business of the courts. Not so today. As Amy Gajda shows in this witty yet troubling book, litigation is now common on campus, and perhaps even more commonly feared. This book explores the origins and causes of the litigation trend, its implications for academic freedom, and what lawyers, judges, and academics themselves can do to limit the potential damage.