David Attenborough’s voice is more distinguishable than his name or appearance. Writer and narrator of wildlife documentaries such as Blue Planet and Planet Earth, Attenborough is considered the “father of the modern nature documentary.” Attenborough films display and explain the natural behavior patterns of the animal kingdom. Snow leopards, killer whales and exotic birds are captured in dramatic, high definition video. Breathtaking scenes are interposed with Attenborough’s buttery-sage British commentary on the uniquity of each species and its habitat. The prosaic message is larger than life. A careful listener unravels a complex and vibrant undertone teaming with universal application. Existentially, you realize “survival of the fittest” does not only apply in the wild. After all, humans are animals too. The courtroom is simply another iteration of habitat. The laws of Mother Nature supersede the laws of man. Mother Nature doesn’t care if you are on the African plain or Courtroom #6150.

Smart trial lawyers are well-versed in the laws of man. Brilliancy in the courtroom demands appreciation of the laws of man and the rules of Mother Nature. Over the years, I’ve collected a few examples of Mother Nature’s lessons worthy of courtroom consideration. These lessons in the form of tips will be posted regularly in a series entitled, “Trial by Nature: Tips to Survival in the Courtroom”.


Posts in This Series
January 5, 2017
Trial by Nature #1 – Tips to Survival in the Courtroom
By Tricia Derr

The frilled-neck lizard of Australia is a brownish-gray lizard. Nothing is special about it – until you scare it. When threatened, this lizard raises up on its hind legs and fans a bright red frill around its neck, velociraptor style. […]

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March 1, 2017
Trial by Nature #2 – Tips to Survival in the Courtroom
By Tricia Derr

The phrase “odd bird” doesn’t come close to describing this creature. Found in the rainforest of New Guinea, the superb bird-of-paradise looks like a little black bird most of the time. However, during mating season, the male bird goes all […]

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April 11, 2017
Trial by Nature #3 – Tips to Survival in the Courtroom
By Tricia Derr

Elephants can swim – even the really big ones. Weighing up to 24,000 pounds, these magnificent animals are impressive in the water. The trunk becomes a snorkel. Huge feet transform into diving fins. While they lumber awkwardly on land, they […]

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May 22, 2017
Trial by Nature #4 – Tips to Survival in the Courtroom
By Tricia Derr

Green herons have been observed collecting and saving “bait” such as small scraps of bread. Rather than eating the bread themselves, the heron sprinkles the bread into the water to attract fish. They wait patiently while the fish assemble to […]

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July 13, 2017
Trial by Nature #5 – Tips to Survival in the Courtroom
By Tricia Derr

Humpback whales circle schools of krill, blowing giant bubbles deep under the ocean. The whales know the krill will not swim through bubbles. The “bubble wall” conveniently cages the krill and the whales expend minimal energy for their meal. Like […]

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October 7, 2017
Trial by Nature #6 – Tips to Survival in the Courtroom
By Tricia Derr

Dingoes are dogs with serious organizational talent. These K-9s employ strategic teamwork to catch prey. In one hunting technique, some of the dogs to serve as “chasers.” The chasers are selected by the pack in advance and are the smaller, […]

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January 23, 2018
Trial by Nature #7 – Tips to Survival in the Courtroom
By Tricia Derr

Camouflage is an art as much as it is a form of survival in the wild. It is a skill equally utilized by predator and prey. The octopus is a master manipulator of camouflage. It can change color and texture […]

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February 10, 2018
Trial by Nature Tip #8 – Tips to Survival in the Courtroom
By Tricia Derr

Hognose snakes cannot be beat at “playing possum.” This reptile is so theatrical, it will literally stage its own murder by spewing blood and smelly fluid from its mouth and anus while writhing in feigned painful last breaths. Apparently, its […]

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February 15, 2018
Trial by Nature Tip #9 – Tips to Survival in the Courtroom
By Tricia Derr

A study conducted by a postdoctoral student at Brown University documented acceleration of the chameleon tongue at speeds of 0 to 60mph in 1/100th of a second. The chameleon expends tremendous energy to strike. The tongue is nearly as long […]

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February 20, 2018
Trial by Nature Tip #10 – Tips to Survival in the Courtroom
By Tricia Derr

Male emperor penguins are “stay-at-home-dads.” Once the female lays the couple’s single egg, she goes off on a “girls weekend” for two months. While she stuffs her belly full of fish, the male penguin braves temperatures of up to -76° […]

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