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8:00 am – 8:10 am Introduction

Ric Dexter, President, American Society of Trial Consultants - Providing services to the legal community since 1980 focusing on litigation consulting since 1990 Senior Trial consultant at Haynes and Boone LLP since 1999, in private practice since 2018, Past Chair of the ASTC Pro Bono Committee, on ASTC board 4 years current president of the ASTC, Future Chair of the Pro bono Committee, stage coach Driver and trick roper in my younger years, Buddhist teacher and lecturer.

8:10 am – 8:25 am Sample Case – Basic Fact Pattern

Andrew Caple-Shaw, Consultant, Act of Communication

In this section, the CLE moderator will introduce the fact pattern of the legal malpractice case through a short video that gives a brief introduction of the facts, the witnesses, and the allegations against the defendant. We will then solicit suggestions of appropriate voir dire questions from attendees.

8:25 am – 8:55 am  Attorney-Conducted Voir Dire Pt. 1

Richard Gabriel, President of Decision Analysis

In this introductory presentation on voir dire, we will begin by soliciting potential voir dire questions from the audience that the plaintiff and defense counsel in the sample case could ask. We will then review the primary goals of voir dire (which often differ from what some attorneys think they are) and how to develop a voir dire strategy.

8:55 am – 9:55 am Witness Preparation

Katherine James, MFA, Founder, Act of Communication

In any case, the judge, arbitrator, mediator and jurors are looking to the two “star” witnesses – the plaintiff and the defendant. There is no kind of case in which this is more critical than in a legal malpractice case. These cases often come down to who do the jurors believe more on the witness stand – the plaintiff or the defendant? Using the mock case as a starting point, this section will review how to identify a witness’ “landmines” from each party’s perspective, how those landmines could negatively affect jurors’ perceptions of the witness, how to fix those negative perceptions, how to

optimize a witness’ testimony from discovery through trial, and how to use jury research and witness preparation sessions to prepare for trial.

9:55 am – 10:10 am Break

10:10 am – 11:10 am Jury Research/Theme Development 

Leslie Ellis, PhD, Director, DecisionQuest

In this section, we will discuss cutting edge uses of jury research (e.g., mock trials and focus groups) to help craft case and trial strategy at any point from before or during discovery to right before trial, and how to use jury research to develop, test and refine case themes and storylines to use in motions, mediation and trial. We will also discuss how to use jury research to enlighten witness preparation, voir dire strategy, and the development of demonstratives for use in hearings, mediation and trial.

11:10 am – 11:30 am Visual Presentation of Themes

Jason Barnes, Partner, Barnes & Roberts

In this section, we will discuss integrating design and presentation professionals into your team, the development of demonstrative evidence to support your themes and highlight your evidence, as well as presentation techniques to apply in the courtroom.

11:30  am – 12:15 pm Attorney-Conducted Voir Dire Pt. 2 Richard Gabriel

In the follow-on presentation on voir dire, we will demonstrate how to use all of the work done leading up to trial (including with focus groups and witness preparation) to draft the most effective voir dire. For example, how does an attorney incorporate themes identified in the jury research into voir dire questions? How can an attorney inoculate jurors against a problem witness or weaknesses in the case (if permitted)? Where appropriate, we will also review how to make some of the questions submitted in the first voir dire session more effective at implementing voir dire strategy.

12:15 pm – 12:30 pm Questions and Answers


Ric Dexter

Providing services to the legal community since 1980 focusing on litigation consulting since 1990 Senior Trial consultant at Haynes and Boone LLP since 1999, in private practice since 2018, Past Chair of the ASTC Pro Bono Committee, on ASTC board 4 years current president of the ASTC, Future Chair of the Pro bono Committee, stage coach Driver and trick roper in my younger years, Buddhist teacher and lecturer.

Andrew Caple-Shaw

Andrew Caple-Shaw is a member of the American Society of Trial Consultants. He is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Occidental College and former Rhodes Scholar Finalist. Andrew became a licensed attorney in the state of Tennessee after completing law school in less than two years, during which time he was a National Champion trial advocate, working actor, and elected leader of the television and film performers union, SAG-AFTRA. He is currently the Vice President of SAG-AFTRA Nashville and has held numerous national and local offices with the organization over the last two decades.

In 2012 he became the head of the mock trial program at the newly established Belmont College of Law in Nashville, where he applied his acting-based approach to trial skills

teaching, which he developed around Sanford Meisner’s principles of emotional listening. Under his leadership, Belmont’s program rose to become one of the top ten in the nation according to American Association of Justice Rankings, all prior to the school even being accredited by the ABA. His first two graduating 3L classes went totally undefeated in their 7-state region in their respective years and lost at the national level only to the nation’s top trial advocacy specialization school. As his advocacy teaching reputation grew, Andrew joined the ACT team and has been working with them for the past several years teaching and training law students, lawyers and their witnesses.

Andrew has conducted sessions with law firms, trial colleges and associations of attorneys including: New Jersey Association for Justice, Mississippi Trial Lawyers and the Western Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association.

As a professional actor for over 28 years, Andrew started out as a regional and touring theater performer before later transitioning into film and television. He has appeared on television shows such as NCIS and THE WEST WING, worked with Academy Award winning actors and directors, and was admitted into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in his early 20s. Andrew is trained in a variety of classical and contemporary acting techniques ranging from Shakespeare to more advanced “method” approaches.

Richard Gabriel

Richard Gabriel is the President of Decision Analysis. Since 1985, Mr. Gabriel has been a leader in the field of jury research, jury selection, and litigation communication in more than a thousand trials in both the civil and criminal arenas across the country. Mr.

Gabriel has assisted counsel in thousands of cases across the country, including the

O.J. Simpson, Casey Anthony, Whitewater, Enron Broadband, Phillip Spector, Heidi Fleiss, and Kwame Kilpatrick trials. Three cases he has participated in have resulted in United States Supreme Court rulings.

Mr. Gabriel is the author of Acquittal: An Insider Reveals the Stories and Strategies Inside Today’s Most Infamous Verdicts which was optioned by Warner Brothers and

developed by Jerry Bruckheimer productions into a one-hour network drama. He is also the co-author of Jury Selection: Strategy and Science, printed by Thompson-Reuters Publications and now in its Third Edition, as well as a contributor to Bennett’s Guide to Jury Selection and Trial Dynamics. Mr. Gabriel was a regular columnist on trial strategy for Lawyers USA and has authored numerous articles on litigation communication, social science, and litigation research for numerous State Bar Journals and other legal publications including the American Bar Association CLE Journal, the Daily Journal, and the Notre Dame and Loyola Law Reviews. He has appeared regularly on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, Fox, MSNBC, CNBC, and NPR as a commentator on high profile trials and is regularly interviewed by national legal publications on jury decision making and trial communication issues.

Mr. Gabriel is a former President of the American Society of Trial Consultants and its Foundation. He is an advisor for the Civil Jury Project at the NYU School of Law and served on committees for the ABA’s Achieving an Impartial Jury Advisory Group and

Implementing Effective Short, Summary, and Expedited Civil Action Programs in conjunction with ABOTA, National Center for State Courts, and the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System. He has been a guest lecturer at numerous law schools and has participated in both judicial education programs and over one hundred training CLE programs on jury and judicial decision-making and litigation persuasion.

Katherine James, MFA

A trial consultant who specializes in live communication skills based in the discipline of theatre, Katherine James has been working to make attorneys and witnesses better courtroom communicators since 1977. Over 30,000 attorneys have taken ACT of Communication™ workshops that she developed with co-founder Alan Blumenfeld. She has helped take over 1,500 cases to trial and helped prepare literally thousands of witnesses, including experts of every stripe. She coaches witnesses and their lawyers to reach, persuade and activate jurors. She has taught for AAJ (formerly ATLA) ABTL, ABA, NITA, DRI, CICA as well as many private law firms and bar associations.

Over 30,000 lawyers have taken her workshops. Over the past 15 years more have purchased her Online/DVD series “What Can Lawyers Learn From Actors”™. She has just released another Online CLE – “How To Make Your Witness A STAR” encapsulating her unique witness preparation system. She has also developed “GoodLawyer/BadLawyer™ Hats” for attorneys to use in witness preparation. She has been widely published and her articles can be read in the Knowledge Tank on the ACT of Communication™ website.

She and her co-founder and husband, Alan Blumenfeld, are proud members of The American Society of Trial Consultants. She is an active theatre artist who performs and directs regularly and is writing a new musical based on a plaintiff’s case she worked on: “Headcase”. She holds a BFA from Illinois Wesleyan University and an MFA from The American Conservatory Theater.

Leslie Ellis, PhD

Dr. Leslie Ellis is a Director in DecisionQuest’s Washington, D.C. office. Dr. Ellis has been conducting research on jury and judicial decision making for 22 years and has consulted on hundreds of cases. She works with attorneys and expert witnesses on high-risk and complex civil cases to develop themes and trial strategies, witness preparation, voir dire, and jury selection.

Utilizing her strong research background and many years of investigating how jurors and juries make decisions, she provides quantitative and qualitative analysis through focus groups, mock trials, damages assessments, and venue analyses. Dr. Ellis’s research interests include the dynamics of the jury decision-making process, the

relationship between juries’ liability and damages decisions, how juries decide damage awards, jury reform, and minority representation on juries.

Dr. Ellis has been involved in a wide range of high-stakes and high-profile cases, including securities fraud, accounting/auditing fraud, False Claims Act, antitrust, intellectual property, insurance, mortgage fraud, white collar crime, contract, toxic tort,

products liability, class action and employment matters. Dr. Ellis is also a frequent speaker on the topic of juror and judicial decision making.

Jason Barnes

Jason Barnes is a partner at The Focal Point. In 1998, he was a founding member of the trial consulting firm Barnes & Roberts, where he served as the managing partner, until the merger of that firm with The Focal Point in early 2018.

Jason has presented cases in state and federal courts throughout Texas and on both coasts, especially in intellectual property, product liability, and business tort matters. He has also represented clients before the International Trade Commission and the Patent and Trademark Office, as well as in arbitrations and mediations.

His background in engineering and computer science, as well in graphic design, uniquely position Jason to advance both the science and the art of courtroom presentation. In the 1990s, he was a pioneer of the trial graphics transformation from traditional projector and slide presentations to modern digital technologies, such as desktop publishing, large format color printing, 3D animation, 3D printing, and electronic evidence presentation. He continues to seek out cutting-edge technologies that will communicate case themes powerfully and persuasively.

Today, Jason continues to shape the legal industry both within the courtroom and outside of it. He is a long-time member of the American Society of Trial Consultants, contributes to CLE presentations, and has provided guest lectures at the Dedman School of Law (SMU) and the Practicing Law Institute’s Patent Litigation Conference. Jason’s writings appear in The Jury Expert, a bi-monthly journal for trial attorneys for which Jason serves as associate editor.

Jason’s background in science and technology forms the basis for his expertise representing clients in high-tech patent litigation. From integrated circuit packaging design to telecom network topology, from object-oriented software to biochemistry, Jason understands both the science and the law that frame the issues to be tried. Working directly with technical staff and expert witnesses, his natural capacities and wide experience give Jason the ability to distill complex technical information into cogent and compelling presentations.

With more than two decades of trial experience, encompassing over 100 trials and over 500 cases, Jason has a deep understanding of trial preparation and practice. As a trial consultant, he helps shape case themes and develops presentation strategies for witnesses and arguments. As a graphic artist, he designs and creates powerful, persuasive demonstratives. Additionally, Jason has sat in the “hot seat,” running the in- court presentations for more than 500 trial days. With so much courtroom experience, he has an intrinsic understanding of the interaction between attorney, witness, jurors, and demonstratives that is brought to bear on every case.

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