So which one of you has the $20,000 in cash?
We have been traveling a lot the last while. Seeing the good, the bad, and sometimes the ugly. But recently we returned to an interesting area with a charming urban/rural feel. Sometimes when we read the news or listen to complaints it seems all graciousness and civility is gone. And if you think that true, we think you need to visit North Carolina. Not only were the attorneys we worked with warm, welcoming and respectful—so were the citizens.
Our mock jurors were gracious and civil even in disagreement. One of them approached on a break and said,
“Wow! I just looked around the room and did some calculating. Is one of you carrying around $20,000 in cash?”
And what was really amusing is that no one felt threatened by the query. We were mellow. We felt safe. (And yes, we were hauling around a lot of money to pay them—but not in our pockets.)
Our lawyer clients worked together collegially even when the hours got long and the going got tough. We did not hear a cross word all weekend. It was truly a pleasure.
Our local videographer (who is a great guy!) showed us what a renaissance man really looks like with a selection of music to work by, a handmade ute, and a knowledge of the esoteric—although he shrugged it off with “Well, I just drive everywhere and sit on my butt, so I listen to a lot of books on tape!”
At the small airport, the airline rep held the plane for two late passengers while entertaining those of us waiting with stories of wanting to get people where they were going. When a young woman out of breath, in tears and with a very runny nose begged to be allowed to get on a plane to say goodbye to her fiancé—the gate agent gently told her she could not board the plane and then disappeared—coming back with a young man in camouflage gear who was obviously shipping out for active duty. They were oblivious to all of us watching (and grinning) as they said their goodbyes (and I have no idea how she made it past security to the gate!).
So I realized that after two very long days of working and two pretty long days of travel that I was relaxed and pretty mellow. It’s a reminder that how we behave and interact has a powerful impact on those around us. Whether in the mock trial or in the courtroom.
If you are respectful and gracious to opposing counsel, your jurors, co-counsel and the judge (even in disagreement) you communicate that you are a person of integrity and character. Be the person that jurors want to see more of. The perception of your character may be ascribed to your client as well.