Whether you are a relatively new lawyer or an accomplished practitioner, speaking well is a job requirement. Everyone expects you to be articulate and polished. As insiders in the legal profession, though, we all realize it isn’t that simple. You may be an excellent writer. You may have made it through law school without speaking up in class very often. There are many skills lawyers must acquire that are easier to hone than speaking.
The truth is, smart people sometimes aren’t the best speakers. They may be excellent thinkers and writers, but speaking is a skill that often needs polishing. You know yourself well enough to realize where you can improve.
We teach the technical skill of speaking well and persuasively while thinking on your feet. Our training for lawyers is based on techniques drawn from bedrock public speaking principles, science, and, finally, art. Much of what we teach is repeatable, conscious skill that will become second nature with practice. You bring your own personality to elevate your speaking to art—but art usually comes later, after technique and practice.
If you want to sharpen your speaking skills and are already an excellent presenter or seasoned trial lawyer…
our techniques will fine-tune your ability to grab and hold your listeners’ attention. We will meet you where you are, help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, and ask you to push yourself to the next level.
If you are proficient, but want to polish your personal style…
we can help you decide which area needs the most work. Can you think clearly and remember what to say, or do you sometimes experience a “blank screen” in your mind as you try to think of what to say next. Have you been told not to gesture as you speak? We can help you recover from public speaking advice that may be hindering your natural talents.
If you rarely have an opportunity to make speeches, and quake in fear at the thought…
we assure that you can not only survive the experience, but also thrive and even enjoy the challenge of speaking well as you think on your feet. We emphasize nuts-and-bolts technique. Our teaching is based on science: human factors, linguistics, gesture studies, brain research, and cognitive and sports psychology.
If you want to be the most confident and compelling speaker in any room, we can direct you to public programs, books to help you get started, and immediately useful tools right here on our site to help you polish your speaking style:
- Sign up for public training programs where we will be teaching by clicking on the Upcoming Programs links in the sidebar. Throughout the year, we teach for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy and the Hillman Advocacy Program who offer training for lawyers. Look for a date and topic that suits your needs, and sign up! We look forward to meeting you.
- Ask your firm’s Professional Development department to contact us for in-house training. We conduct lawyer training courses at some of the world’s largest law firms, where we lecture, conduct small group sessions, and coach individual lawyers for trials, appeals, motions, and public presentations. We train everyone from the newest associate to the most seasoned partner. Whether you are looking for an introduction to professional speaking or an edge in an upcoming trial or appeal, we have training for you.
- Read one of our books to get started.
For litigators: read our award-winning The Articulate Advocate: Persuasive Skills for Lawyers in Trials, Appeals, Arbitrations, and Motions. This book is the second edition of our foundational book teaching lawyers how to speak persuasively and spontaneously in court. Our innovative techniques are based on more than three decades of experience training and coaching practitioners. We use cutting-edge discoveries in a range of sciences to help advocates look, sound, and feel natural and polished in court. The book provides answers to common questions about channeling adrenaline, talking too fast, and remembering everything you need to say as you grab and hold your jury’s attention.
“This book is an essential part of the tool kit for anyone who really wants to be a skilled advocate. It is an investment in you, your career, and your clients. If you cannot attend training with Brian and Marsha in person, this book is the next best thing. And if you are one of the lucky among us who has benefited from that training, the book serves as a great refresher!”
─Jami Wintz McKeon, Chair, Morgan Lewis
If you are a transactional lawyer, please sample The Articulate Attorney: Public Speaking for Lawyers. Based on more than 30 years of experience coaching lawyers, we address the distinctive communication skills expected of attorneys. These techniques will transform you into a more confident speaker, whether addressing colleagues in a conference room, counseling clients in a boardroom, or presenting a CLE in a ballroom.
Discover answers to these common questions:
- How do I channel my nervous energy into dynamic delivery?
- What’s the best way to remember what I want to say?
- How do I stop saying um and think in silence instead?
- Why is gesturing so important? What should I do with my hands?
- What’s the best way to use PowerPoint?
“This book should definitely be one of the most read, re-read, and earmarked books on a lawyer’s bookshelf.”
– Caren Ulrich Stacy, Diversity Lab
- Watch our instructional video. Meet Brian K. Johnson as he explains the fundamentals behind our training for lawyers in this video, “How Do You Speak Well as You Think on Your Feet?”
Building Trial Skills: Chicago
The Articulate Advocate
The Articulate Advocate
Building Trial Skills: San Francisco
NITA National Session