NL 02 - Vulnerability


When teaching trial advocacy I often get confused looks when I talk about the importance of being vulnerable. I understand the confusion. In law school so many of us are taught that as lawyers we need to be detached and objective in order to be effective advocates. While that may be the way to approach analyzing a legal problem, when considering how to effectively present your client’s case at trial the approach has to be different. Effective trial advocacy requires a certain level of vulnerability.

Vulnerability In Trial Advocacy

When it comes to discussing vulnerability with my students or other lawyers I think their mental roadblocks come from misconceptions about how vulnerability plays into trial advocacy.  More than once, I’ve had a student interrupt me and say, “I’m not crying in front of a jury.”  So let’s start off with dispensing with the common misconceptions about what it means to be vulnerable as a trial lawyer.