Sep 06, 2017 Criminal defense & persuasion benefit from a clear mirror
Criminal defense and persuasion benefit tremendously from a clear mirror. That mirror can be the magic mirror, where others are not likely to do any better than we give them the faith to do. That mirror can also be the spiritual mirror of the heart that can have boundless warmth and generosity.
If the judge scowls at lawyer A and smiles broadly at lawyer B, yes it may be due to the judge’s prejudices or other preconceptions. On the other hand, what if lawyer A and B have identical resumes and backgrounds, nearly identical cases, and the judge knows nothing about them until each of their cases is called back to back? Is the judge’s difference in attitude between the two lawyers because the judge is mercurial, mistaken, or had gas that passed with relief just as lawyer B stepped up to the well?
The lawyer can at least improve his or her persuasion chances with judges, jurors, and everyone else by presenting the best magic mirror, clearing out the lawyer’s internal gunk, and shining and vibrating brightly.
I keep returning to this theme of the persuasive benefits of shining and vibrating highly, in part because I want to keep this message at its optimum for my clients, and also in part because daily temptations beckon us to focus on darkness and misery. Louis Armstrong was onto something when reminding us that “When you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you.” Why have hordes of people flocked to movies with Mel Brooks, Adam Sandler and Steve Martin? Not only because they make audiences laugh their heads off and forget their troubles, but also because they can get laughs without trashing other people. Why do people avoid visiting those who do nothing but complain that nobody visits them enough? They don’t seem to care about anyone but themselves, so with them we run for the hills. Each of us have buttons that can be pushed the right or wrong way to motivate us in favor of some people, and to repel us from others.
Does this all mean that we need to feel all happy and fulfilled to persuade others? No, although it does not hurt. It does mean that we persuade better when we are compassionate and empathetic towards others, when we are genuinely positive, and when we remove ourselves from being an obstacle to others who might act or decide in our favor.
How do we clear out our internal gunk and vibrate highly so that we are not an obstacle for others, but instead a beacon of inspiration? For starters, we can avoid self-centeredness, and instead focus on being grateful, being generous, and being kind and compassionate. We can avoid obsessing, worrying, and complaining, and get to that place of excitement for a new opportunity to persuade and achieve. When we do all that, the listener is more likely to open his or her heart, ears and mind to us — sometimes to the point of wanting to join us on our plane — rather than being ready to be on the defensive to those who act the opposite.
Recent examples of the benefits of the foregoing approach came in recent quick succession when two prosecutors who are known often to be grating, irritating and arrogant, were as kind as could be. With one prosecutor I asked him to help on an urgent matter when he easily could have delayed responding after taking care of his own matters left for that afternoon; this help was a key benefit for my client. The other prosecutor and I had had some contentious recent communications about my client Jim’s case, but when I walked over to the prosecutor this time to discuss Jim’s case in the courthouse, the prosecutor was talking with me as if our prior contentious interactions had never happened. The results of our talk benefited my client significantly.
This is not to say that we can or should avoid ever speaking or acting firmly with others, because when others trespass miserably against us, it is not time to sit down and smile at the other, but to stand up to the other. Nonetheless, we need not be any firmer than the occasion calls for, and then we can work to de-escalate the situation. The progression from gentleness to firmness to verbal onslaught is akin to Master Kan’s approach of avoid rather than check; check rather than hurt; hurt rather than maim; and maim rather than kill.
This magic in dealing with other people can arise with our allies, as well, including clients. When criminal defense clients experience a lawyer who truly cares about them and does not sweat or worry, that confidence is infectious. When the lawyer talks with his or her client with patience, full focus, realistic optimism, teamwork, and faith in the client’s ability to do the right thing, the client starts mirroring that approach.
When we clean out our own dreck, any dreck from others comes from a source other than ourselves, and we can then deflect and dissipate the dreck, and we persuade at our best.
Northern Virginia criminal lawyer believes in defending without borders, whether those borders be from perception or otherwise. To consult wiht Jon about your criminal or DWI case, please call his staff at 703-383-1100.