Apr 17, 2016 Persuasion through seed planting and seed watering
A criminal defense lawyer has a choice between wowing a client with oratory and panache, or delivering results in a more subtle way. Results are always more important than oratory and panache, although sometimes all can be accomplished at once.
When the client has faith in his or her lawyer, the client will not insist on oratory and panache nor on firing assaulting words and phrases for the mere purpose of doing so.
A well prepared and persuasive lawyer sometimes can persuade instantly, but at other times must plant seeds and then water those seeds and cultivate the results, to persuade over the longer haul. One’s audience has so many thoughts and ideas to contend with each moment and day that the audience sometimes needs some time to ponder and act on a lawyer’s argument, sometimes in the solitude of a break during court proceedings, or longer.
For that reason, at trial, the lawyer must get his or her key case themes and theories early on in front of the jury — or judge at a bench trial — to enable the jury and judge to process the unfolding proceedings through the themes, theories and framework presented early on by the lawyer.
For motions hearings, when the lawyer hits the judge between the eyes early on about the lawyer’s key arguments, even if the judge at first acts lukewarm or worse on those arguments, the judge may turn around eventually after pondering those arguments.
Plants develop from seedlings to mature plants with sufficient attention, caring, space, time, watering, soil, temperature and other important growing conditions. When the decisionmaker is given space and time to ponder and render a decision — without being watched over at all time, and certainly not suffocated — the decisionmake is more likely to relax and feel comfortable ruling in favor of the lawyer’s arguments. This is not mere engagement in platitudes, but is necessary to the persuasion process. Engaging in this process includes letting go of any attachment to the result, and giving the decisionmaker a chance to do the right thing. Doing otherwise is not a choice.