Attorney Sidebar: Churchill with a kiss…. a kiss that Keeps It Super Simple

~ Sir Winston Churchill

All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.

and

Broadly speaking, the short words are the best, and the old words best of all.

~ Sir Winston Churchill


When speaking to a jury, you must not talk down, nor up to them.  You should avoid jargon and trite phrases, and if you choose not to, then have a desired effect in mind.  If a defendant truck driver uses “hammer lane” instead of the “fast lane”, then by all means hammer him/her with it.

These simple words can be compared to a nation, a people, a person, a case.  Just use your imagination to employ it in your theme of your framing of the case.  They are more easily adapted for lawyers representing those wronged, injured or harmed by another.  Could be a car accident, it could be business transaction, etc.

Freedom.  Those injured severely are less than they were before the auto collision, for exampled.  Their lives are less, they are limited physically and their hopes and dreams.  Both the body and spirit can be limited.  They have lost their freedom to control their life as was their right.  They have lost the ability to do some things that they took for granted.  Basic bath and hygiene has been adjusted.  Their freedom has been diminished.  Within a business transaction, there could a loss of a business advantage, opportunity, or profit because the contractual breach limits their freedom to go on.

Justice.  Your case should not be at trial unless their was an injustice.  Justice should be on your side.

Honor.  The honorable thing is for those causing harm to take responsibility for the negligence, their wrongdoing, their failure to keep their word on an obligation.

Duty.  Easy to find in vehicular collisions, professional malpractice.  The jury instructions, standing procedures for the practice of medicine or law, the terms of a contract, the driver’s manual, state and federal safety codes, the instruction manual, and more provide the duties that must be met else someone is harmed.

Mercy. It is probably best not to use this one as a sword since it would counter many jury instructions.  It could be paraphrased as “charity” as a straw man argumentative point that your client is not seeking charity in this case, in this courtroom.  This would not be the place or the forum.  What he is seeking compensation for the breach of duty, the loss of his freedom, justice for the harms and losses sustained, and to live his life with the honor he had before so much was taken from him.

Hope.  All cases are based on hope.  Hope the jury meets their responsibility according to the law,  Their hope to live a life with their family and loved ones as close to what it was before the harms and losses.

Keeping it super simple is not limited to words, need not be spelled out, and can be best be told through the words and deeds of others.

For more on how Churchill prepared and gave his speeches that moved a nation and which might help you move a jury, click here.