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Terry MacCarthy’s positive approach to persuasion

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Early in my criminal defense career, I heard and learned about then chief Chicago federal public defender Terry MacCarthy. Among all the dung that criminal defense lawyers must handle, Terry always has inspired me to find the persuasive optimism, light and humor in criminal defense.

Long ago I watched a video of Terry demonstrating what he calls look good cross examination, where the cross examiner persuades not just with his or her words and with emphatically delivering those words, but also with his body language, for instance re-enacting a shooting during cross exam, to show the shooting victim as covering his eyes during his encounter with the suspect, and therefore having insufficient ability to identify his shooter.

I got a chance to talk with Terry through National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyer meetings and when he taught briefly at the Trial Lawyers College. He is an example of being able effectively to persuade fully for criminal defendants without needing to fight the entire establishment in the process. In fact, Terry was establishment enough to have been active with one or more committees of the American Bar Association.

While I have not yet watched this video series of Terry discussing cross examination, what I have seen conveys some of Terry’s essential essence.

Deeply thanking Terry MacCarthy for taking the time again and again over the decades to share his persuasive skills with criminal defense lawyers nationwide.