The Two Minute Trial. Even before the Internet age, we knew audiences were impatient listeners. Trial lawyers tried to keep their opening statements to twenty minutes. TED talks limited speakers to eighteen minutes. The speed, volume and depth of information on the Internet have shrunk attention spans even more. One MIT researcher, Ted Selker, studied heavy web users and found that their attention spans ran nine seconds – the same as a goldfish.
We credit jurors with a lot more focus than a goldfish but we also see many jurors
losing interest after five or ten minutes of an opening or examination. We think of this conceptually as the Two Minute Trial and encourage trial teams to organize the first two minutes of an opening or direct examination as if that is all the time they had. For example, we generally like the opening statement practice of giving a thirty second summary of a case before introducing the lawyers and client.
We live for trials – real trials, not just mock trials. That is when we do our best and most valuable work. We join the trial team – sometimes for the entire trial and sometimes only for our client's case. Most of our trial work is preparing witnesses but we also assist with jury selection, opening statements, direct examination and demonstrative exhibits.