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Effective courtroom tactics

Many successful advocates create a ‘persona.’  We recall one military litigator from Louisiana who used to tell Cajun jokes when appropriate.  Another lawyer had an Uncle Bob who supposedly said clever things.    One Air Force judge advocate liked to quote apt Biblical sayings. 

The concept — used successfully – can set the defense attorney apart from the rank and file.    Court members may even wait in anticipation for a “quotable quote” in each trial or hearing. 

Nothing particularly exciting in your heritage or background?  Then how about storing away some of the delightful quotations from the late Yogi Berra.   Some candidates for courtroom use:

1. When you come to a fork in the road, take it. [the  accused blundered]

2. You can observe a lot by just watching.

3. It isn’t over till it’s over.

4. It’s like déjà vu all over again.  [client did the same thing a second time]

5. No one goes there nowadays, it’s too crowded.

6. Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical.

7. A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.

8. Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours.

9. Congratulations. I knew the record would stand until it was broken.

10. You wouldn’t have won if we’d beaten you.

11. Never answer an anonymous letter. [client made a mistake]

12. Slump? I ain’t in no slump… I just ain’t hitting.

13. It gets late early out here.

14. It was impossible to get a conversation going, everybody was talking too much.  [dispute over what was said in the group]

15. I never blame myself when I’m not hitting.  I just blame the bat and if it keeps up, I change bats. After all, if I know it isn’t my fault that I’m not hitting, how can I get mad at myself?

16. I never said most of the things I said.

17.   If you ask me anything I don’t know, I’m not going to answer [useful response to a military judge with a good sense of  humor?]

18. The towels were so thick there I could hardly close my suitcase.

19.  Little League baseball is a very good thing because it keeps the parents off the streets.


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