Mar 26, 2019 Reaching across the aisle for persuasion- Fairfax trial lawyer
Reaching across the aisle is a critical part of persuasion, says Fairfax criminal lawyer
Great persuaders and negotiators know how to reach across the aisle to work with people who harbor plenty of opposing views. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I know the persuasive value of setting aside political and personal differences to persuade others and to gain essential intelligence. We find persuasive points of commonality with each other by breaking proverbial and actual bread together; learning about our mutual pastimes; and overlooking people’s political parties and stance on such divisive issues as abortion laws and capital punishment.
Reaching across the aisle helps the magic mirror
As a Fairfax criminal attorney, I know the persuasive value of the magic mirror, that we should not expect people to strive any better with us than we strive with them. Similarly, if I do not expect a juror, judge, prosecutor or opposing witness to meet anything but low expectations from me, that person is not likely to exceed those low expectations.
Will Rogers had it right by internalizing that he had never met a person he did not like. He was not seeing people as flawless, but recognized that every person — even the most flawed and seemingly evil person — has the seeds of doing good.
Persuading also means engaging
A successfully persuasive criminal defense lawyer should never shun speaking with anyone who might be able to benefit his or her client’s case. I regularly engage in both case-related and informal conversation with prosecutors and opposing witnesses, not only to get information from them and to negotiate, but also to gauge their viewpoint and temper on the case and to get a sense of how best to approach opposing witnesses in cross examining them.
Persuasive reaching across the aisle means eliminating negative snowballing views and feelings
Recently I spoke with three different lawyers about a particularly challenging judge. One colleague spoke about this judge with near anger. Another colleague kept a sense of humor in suggesting that this judge had gone off the path of treating litigants right. Another colleague commiserated that he is a challenging judge.
While nobody should be a hopeless pollyanna with rose colored glasses, anger and other deeply negative feelings do not help with persuasion, can be smelled a mile away, and can make the persuader unliked, which can make it harder to persuade. Of course, some jurors automatically might have biases against criminal defense lawyers for representing defendants, and nobody should seek to be liked by kissing butt, but such unnecessary dislike-producing actions as anger and being overbearing need to remain out of the criminal defense lawyer’s approach. Reaching across the aisle helps eliminate the barriers to effective persuasion in criminal court.
Fairfax criminal lawyer Jonathan L. Katz knows he is on the side of the angels in his work, while also knowing the benefits of seeing us all as connected in persuading others on behalf of his clients. To discuss your case with Jon Katz in confidence, please schedule an appointment through his staff at 703-383-1100.