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How to Win a Lawsuit: Emotional Attrition

“Can you see her?”

In the penultimate scene of that fantastic legal drama, A Time to Kill, Matthew McConoughey brilliantly demonstrates what can be done when your client doesn’t have a legal leg on which to stand.

As you will no doubt remember if you’ve seen the movie — and if you haven’t seen the movie, what are you waiting for? — the client’s case was simple. In broad daylight, in front of many witnesses and with premeditation, the client murdered the two men who had attacked his daughter.

What Is Emotional Attrition?

Under the facts, under the law, McConoughey had no case. If he argued on merit, his client had a one-way ticket to the electric chair. So what did he do? He employed a strategy called Emotional Attrition.

Last week we talked about Financial Attrition as one of the three ways you can win a case. Emotional Attrition is the second way and simply means that your strategy focuses on the emotions of either your opponent or the jury. In Matthew’s case, he found a way to justify his client’s actions in the eyes of the jury, and we were able to walk out of the theater with a sort of happy Hollywood ending.

Outside of Hollywood, rarely do we see such an explosive scene played out in the courtroom, but the strategy is solid, and if you can’t win your case based on facts and law, it’s one worth considering. However, remember that your opponent is also considering their best strategy to win.

Are You Emotionally Prepared for a Legal Battle?

With the Emotional Attrition angle on the table, you need to ask yourself some questions. Do you have the stomach to fight this battle, month after month, year after year? Can your nerves hold together through a deposition that can last days? Do you have the head space and the fortitude to do what it takes to win?

If you’ve found yourself in a position where you need to consider these questions, it would be a good idea to talk with an attorney who will walk you through the process thoroughly and realistically. We’d love to help!

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