September 17, 2015

Trial Advocacy in the Modern World

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly
Daniel I. Small

In 1924, Clarence Darrow defended Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, the teenage sons of wealthy Chicago families who were accused of killing a 14-year-old boy. In what was called the “trial of the century,” Darrow gave a closing argument that lasted for 12 hours. He succeeded in saving the defendants from execution. The closing was so popular that it was published in various editions for years afterward.

It may have been brilliant, but it sounds bizarre by today's standards. We live in a different world that 1924, or event 2004. A serious of technological changes - most notably, the development of television and the internet- have revolutionized how we communicate with each other. In recent years, technological change has exploded. Facebook, for example, is barely 10 years old, but has more than a billion users.

Somehow, though, trial lawyers have largely lagged far behind. Three trends in recent years have dramatically changed how lawyers should approach courtroom advocacy.

READ: Trial Advocacy in the Modern World

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