Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? Dr.Strangelove Tries A Case

I have a confession to make: I've had several verdicts in excess of one million dollars. In each case, I had no idea that the jury would make the awards. I still don't why the juries did. I've lost cases I thought I should have won, and won cases I thought I would lose. Juries seem unpredictable to me. They scare me; you plead your case and then hold on for dear life.

It turns out I am just ignorant. It's all a science, you see. The secret springs of juror conduct can be deciphered. Winning is mere technique. It can be taught. It's all in the neuroscience, you see.

Do you want to be a millionaire? Do you want floor seats at Lakers' games? Your own driver? More money than you know what to do with? Hell, you could even take these persuasive powers and run for office. Become mayor of your town. Perhaps run for Congress. Hey, think big. Start your own religion.

I'm not kidding. I was just sent a copy of a new advertisement for a program to take place in DuBois, Wyoming this summer. The gig will take place at Gerry Spence's ranch. Move over Gerry. There's a new kid in town. Rex Parris is going to teach the hidden science of big dollar verdicts.

For a time, Rex and I talked almost every week. Then he got rich. Now he's shooting for fame. I'm still wondering how I ever persuaded a jury to make a million dollars out of someone else's sorrow. I thought it was magic I stumbled upon without knowing how. It turns out I was wrong. I had apparently stumbled across a secret recipe without recognizing the ingredients.

I confess I still don't know either the recipe or the ingredients. But somehow, this advertisement does not entice me back to the Trial Lawyer's College. Perhaps it will entice you. If you attend, tell Rex I send my regards. I remember when he used to put his shoes on the same way I did.

I still like the taste of the Colonel's chicken. I just don't know how to whip up a batch of deep-fried pleasure.

Rex wins one big verdict after another. I am jealous. He is big enough to share his secrets. Somehow I don't think it is as simple as this ad makes it sound. At least I hope it's not. Imagine turning up to jury selection in your next cases wearing a lab coat. What would the jurors think? Dr. Strangelove earns a J.D.?

To: Trial Lawyers College
Subject: [TLC] Rex Parris to present at Grad I -- message from Joey Low

Fellow Warriors: For Grad I, Rex Parris has agreed to come for several days to work with people using his methods that he has perfected to get his monster verdicts. He and his staff will be here for approximately two days presenting a variety of new techniques designed to enhance the art of persuasion. Please join us. We have about 10 more spaces and then Grad I, like Grad II already is, will be full!


Cognitive scientists have discovered more about how we love, how we are motivated, and how we think, in the last 10 years, than in the last 3000. Bringing this knowledge into the courtroom is what this presentation is about.

What really motivates juries to act decisively? Why will they “not deny” an injured plaintiff millions of dollars in future care, but will refuse to “give” it to them? How can computer algorithms guide us in jury selection, and help us predict how they will decide our case? How do we keep potential jurors and witnesses talking, without us saying a word?

These are just some of the questions that will be addressed in this presentation. Cognitive scientists are unlocking the mysteries of persuasion. The trial attorneys who master these skills will be the ones we read about in the coming years.

We look forward to working with you at the Thunderhead Ranch this summer!

Comments: (6)

  • I imagine that trial attorneys salivating over the...
    I imagine that trial attorneys salivating over the BP Oil Spill will be scrambling to grab one of those last six spots available at DunderHead Ranch.
    It's probably a talent and a science. The fact remains, jury behavior is probably, basically, simpley indecipherable in many cases. It is my opinion that it is the prospective jurors who should be heading off to school. The attorneys are already schooled. Perhaps I should say, 'allegedly' schooled. Ha!
    Posted on June 9, 2010 at 12:11 am by William Doriss
  • UnFingbelievable!! TLC has truly lost its way. Wha...
    UnFingbelievable!! TLC has truly lost its way. What once was a unique, creative place to learn has become a cold, heartless corporation that cares more about money than people. The email from the Executive Director and Joey Low are Exhibit B (Exhibit A was the request by Spence (he himself an insanely rich man) for contributions to keep the death penalty program alive. If he really wants to do penance for seeking and obtaining the death penalty against Mark Hopkinson, or if he really gave one rat's ass about the "little people," "the defenseless," and "the damned," he would fund the damn program himself!
    If the new TLC is focusing its teaching to help lawyers get "monster verdicts" and use neuroscience to manipulate juries, they are not the organization they claim to be. Looks like TLC cares about one thing and one thing only, and that is MONEY. Makes sense when the board is a rich, predominantly white club where members have private planes and only brag about the "big verdicts" they get or have gotten. Everyday there are public defenders who give their blood, sweat and tears to save the lives of everyday people against government oppression. But clearly, from the recent "advertisement" such folks are not welcome at TLC and would have no need for the teaching they plan to present at Grad I.
    And, in my opinion, the founder of TLC is a hypocrit of the first order. He rails against corporate america, complains about the greedy, and yet he and his organization are both, a corporation and greedy. TLC is the legal education equivalent to BP!
    Posted on June 9, 2010 at 2:53 pm by Anonymous
  • Norm
    You're being a bit harsh don't you think?
    You're being a bit harsh don't you think?
    Posted on June 9, 2010 at 5:19 pm by R Rex Parris
  • R
    Perhaps but did you see the promotional puff bef...
    Perhaps but did you see the promotional puff before it was sent? It reads like someone is selling a fourteenth seat at the Last Supper. It is over the top.
    Posted on June 10, 2010 at 12:23 am by Norm Pattis
  • Everything after "Persuasion is not a talent," is ...
    Everything after "Persuasion is not a talent," is mine. I also think it is accurate. To think otherwise has it's own distasteful implications.
    Posted on June 15, 2010 at 4:43 pm by R Rex Parris
  • Rex
    It is immodest and distasteful to suggest tha...
    It is immodest and distasteful to suggest that the past ten years have brought more knowledge about the human psyche to light than what was learned in the past 3000 years.
    Posted on June 15, 2010 at 6:16 pm by Norm Pattis

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