A “principle of persuasion” is a fundamental truth with broad applications that is used to eliminate or mitigate sources of doubt in the mind of a decision-maker. These principles cause the decision-maker (whether judge, jury, or opposing side) to be more likely to accept your argument. We apply principles of persuasion to build winning cases.
We have analyzed and developed principles of persuasion through academic and practical research. We taught these principles at the University of Southern California Law Center in a class on Persuasion.
Moreover, writing out analyses of the principles of persuasion enables a deeper understanding of the principles and their applications. It also records lessons learned that we can build upon.
The following are examples of the results of our research and development into principles of persuasion. The first explains Organization as a principle of human persuasion. The second discusses the Human Witness Theory, an approach to identify potential arguments (and therefore lines of cross or direct examination) based on the presence of a human intermediary for all evidence. The third describes the most powerful force of courtroom persuasion—Ethos, a lawyer’s perceived moral character.