Sometimes It Is Better To Stay In The Background

Trial by Nature #7 - Tips to Survival in the Courtroom

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 in less than a second. They have advanced eyesight. They are limber enough to fit into the smallest crevices. Best of all, they are super smart and keenly intuitive.

Unlike the wily octopus, trial lawyers often have the instinct to be seen. We often fail to analyze the power of subterfuge or selective presence. This is a mistake. At times, listening can be more valuable than being heard. Being seen can attract unwarranted attention. While “the squeaky wheel gets the oil,” sometimes “the nail that sticks out gets hammered.”

If you are counsel for one of several defendants, contemplate your role. Is your client the target? Would it be better to blend into the background like the resourceful octopus? Will blending in help your case or hurt it? What is the likelihood the other side intends to lure you into complacency? Measured visibility can be an appreciable asset.

Consider texture. How do you want to “show up” in the case? In some cases, an empathetic style might be more persuasive. In others, righteous indignation might be appropriate. How do you want your client to appear? The texture of each case will be different. The clever octopus must be versatile enough to change course in an instant.

Other Articles in the Series

Trial by Nature Tip #10 – Guard Your Egg

We are responsible for ensuring the survival of our young lawyers. I cannot name one successful trial lawyer who did not receive coaching and mentoring from a more seasoned veteran. If you are one of the successful attorneys, by all means, “pay it forward.”

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Trial by Nature Tip #3 – Stereotypes are Dangerous

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 glide effortlessly in water. It is almost as though they were meant to be there in the first place.

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Trial by Nature Tip #2 – Display Matters

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 out to find a mate.

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