How to Win a Street Fight: Our Toughest Jury Trials – Episode 2

March 26, 2021 by

How to Win a Street Fight: Our Toughest Jury Trials

In this episode of Trying 2 Win, hosts Sara Lincoln and Tricia Derr, founders of the women-led law firm, Lincoln Derr, break down their toughest cases.

Both Sara and Tricia were trained as “street fighters” who “learned the hard way” how to try a case and win. They come to every case prepared. And still, there have been those cases that have challenged them, forcing them to think critically and creatively when the stakes are high.

For Sara, it was a medical malpractice case that pitted her against an intimidating expert witness (she won, by the way, after poring over thousands of pages of documents to find one critical, overlooked detail). Tricia’s case put her up against an attorney who was willing to push the envelope ethically and factually before members of the jury. In both experiences (and many others), Tricia and Sara argue credibility was a key factor in fighting and winning, and both women recount emotional situations as opportunities to “make us better [lawyers].” The main takeaways? You can’t avoid the tough cases, nor should you. Every challenge is an opportunity to learn valuable lessons about how to fight and win, no matter what you’re up against.

Show Notes

Conflict of interest

In this blog post, Sara recounts her endoscopy case in greater detail. At issue was the tool used in a biopsy of the sphenoid sinus: The patient claimed an endoscope should have been used in the procedure, while the doctor had opted for surgical loupes. To make the case that the endoscope was the better option, opposing counsel brought in an expert from Chicago who had written extensively on the benefits of doing sinus surgery using endoscopes. “He was a hard witness. He was mean and cranky, and when I took his deposition, I thought: How am I going to get this guy?” Sara recalled. Read more about how she did.

The emotional intelligence secret weapon

To win a tough case, you’ve got to make a compelling argument to your jury. Sara and Tricia talk through several strategies they’ve implemented over the years, but it all comes down to emotional intelligence. According to this article from the American Bar Association, lawyers typically score high in intelligence but below average in emotional intelligence, which has four components: emotional perception, emotional empathy, emotional understanding and emotional regulation. “The emotionally intelligent have an accurate awareness of emotions in themselves and others, can tap into how those emotions feel and are able to understand and manage emotions so as to produce the desired results.”

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Behind the Bench

Our Music: “Diamonds on the Inside”

Composer/performer: Katy Cox

Love our theme song? We do, too. Here’s a little more about the Charlotte-based woman behind the music.

Former attorney and singer-songwriter Katy Cox transports her listeners with radiant vocals and thoughtful lyrics. Her songs draw you in and take you on an emotional journey that explores both the heartache and the joy of living. Influenced by artists such as Lori McKenna, Shawn Colvin and Patty Griffin, Katy delivers engaging modern folk melodies, with a healthy dose of country and acoustic rock. Hear more of her music at her website:

Our Cover Art Background: “Brave Enough”

Artist: Sally Higgins

After many years of artistic pursuits of various kinds, Charlotte artist Sally Higgins turned to painting about 10 years ago. She works in oil, acrylic, encaustic and mixed media. Art provides Sally a welcome respite from her word-filled career as a trial lawyer.  See more of Sally’s art at and


Sara Lincoln and Tricia Derr are the co-founders of Lincoln Derr and serve at the helm of the firm leading all practice groups through active counsel, litigation, and advising. They are seasoned litigators specializing in innovative multi-media communication, practical business-minded advice, and speaking to audiences in a “real”, non-technical way.

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