Episode #101 - A Look Ahead at Podcast Topics in 2022

Steve Wood, Ph.D.

Dr. Steve Wood delivers a preview of topics that will be addressed on The Litigation Psychology Podcast during 2022. A few of the hot topics that Steve and Dr. Bill Kanasky, Jr. will be discussing during the year:

- the importance and necessity of communication and sharing of information amongst the defense bar; 

- celebrating defense bar victories, including insights on what's working for the defense, and what's leading to those wins and successful outcomes;  

- witness behavior, including recent observations and commentary on defendants taking the stand in their own defense and what's been successful and unsuccessful in those situations;

- mental health topics, covering witness, juror, and attorney mental health issues and their impact on litigation; 

- attorney leadership and the importance of providing opportunities and training for younger attorneys; 

- juror perceptions of different industries and individual roles of people who will be called to testify and how to improve and change any negative impressions;  

- plus much more.

Podcast transcript:

Dr. Steve Wood: Welcome to the Litigation Psychology podcast brought to you by Courtroom Sciences Inc. I'm Dr. Steve Wood. Twenty twenty-two first podcast of the New Year. Hopefully, everyone had a good New Year's Eve. Good New Year's Day. Got your New Year's resolutions? Fingers crossed that you don't blow it in six months in. Might have noticed as well that we have a new introduction song, probably viewers or listeners of the podcast know that Bill and I are fans of rock, music, and Bill wanted a little bit more Foo Fighter-esque intro song. So we gave him what he wanted. Added a little bit more of a rock feel to the intro, so hopefully, everyone likes that. In addition, here at the Litigation Psychology podcast, we have our own New Year's resolutions to make sure that we still bring you the content that you need to help you in any endeavor in life, whether that be communication as an attorney or a witness, corporations. We want to make sure that we're giving you what you need so that you can be successful. We also want to make sure we bring you some levity every once in a while with Kanasky rant. We realize we've gotten good feedback about the Kanasky rant. And for some reason, people like to hear Bill when he goes off on tangents. So we're going to go in, provide a little bit more of that so that people can hopefully have a little bit of fun and learn something along the way. But really, what I want to talk about on this podcast is kind of lay out what we plan to do in the future.

Bill and I are currently working feverishly in the background to create new content, to get on new guests, to make sure we bring you the content and the information that you need. One of the first things we're going to talk about and we're going to bring you in the new year as we're going to talk more about defense bar communication. Now I know a lot of times when we bring guests on constantly, always saying the defense bar needs to do a better job of communicating. The defense bar needs to do a better job of sharing. We're going to keep talking more about that. And then we're also going to start talking more about what does that sharing look like? What does that information the defense bar needs to share with one another to help them be more successful in trying the cases? We also want to celebrate more defense victories. We talk a lot about about the things that would have, could have, should have been done, but we haven't talked as much about what are the things that are happening that are, well, what are these zero verdicts? What are these defense full defense verdicts that we're seeing out there? We want to try to get some of those attorneys on to talk about what is it that they did to help them to be successful? Where do they think that they were? Focusing on what are the different things they thought helped to tip the scales of justice in their favor. We want to make sure we identify those highlight those attorneys highlight those cases, praise those cases and also look at the things, as I said, that help them to be successful so that other people can learn from it and be successful in the future as well. Obviously, here we're trying to tamp down these nuclear verdicts. We constantly talk about how we want to thwart nuclear verdicts, and we think this is one of the best ways to do it is to really hone in and identify those things that work and share them among the defense bar.

The other thing we talk about we want to talk about is witness behaviors, as you know, Bill and I do a lot of work with witnesses. We focus a lot on witnesses. We want to talk more about that, especially now. Since we've seen more in 2021, we've seen criminal defendants take the stand in their own defense. I can think back to the Kyle Rittenhouse case. Kim Potter, the McMichaels in Georgia...The list goes on and on where we were actually seeing now an uptick of these defendants taking the stand. And in some instances, they do really, really well. And in other instances, they do really, really bad. And obviously, it has an impact on the outcome of the case. So we want to focus more on those witnesses' behaviors that are successful and also highlight those behaviors that have been unsuccessful to make sure that witnesses avoid doing those in the future.

The other thing we want to talk about is mental health, obviously, mental health is a serious topic that not a lot of people talk about. A lot of times it gets glossed over. A lot of times its people who are dealing with mental health issues feel like they have no outlet and that they should be ashamed of the things that they're dealing with. But I think that's one of the things, especially for me. I want to embrace mental health. I want to talk more about mental health. You know, we thought we were on the downswing of COVID, and now we have the new Omicron variant. So I can see now where mask mandates are coming back. Lockdowns are potentially coming back, so we may be back now where individuals are struggling with mental health just as much as they were last year or the year before. We want to make sure we focus on that. I already have a guest ready to bring on to talk more about ways that you can alleviate stress. Ways to improve your mental health. And we're going to talk about it from both an attorney and a witness perspective. Because as we know, attorneys have a very stressful job for dealing with a lot of things. Not only are they dealing with defending clients, they're dealing with the stresses of life, and we want to make sure we focus on those going forward.

Another topic we want to talk about is leadership. I think I'm here all the time, we have a lot of very smart, very intelligent, very successful attorneys who come on and talk about the things that they do in order to be successful, and we want to make sure we focus more on those so that we can impart that knowledge and those younger associates, those younger attorneys giving them the tips and tricks that they can use in order to be better leaders in their community, better leaders in front of a jury to make sure that they can do the things that they need in order to be successful, set themselves up for the future. Because as we've talked about before, a lot of the old attorneys are on their way out there are getting ready to retire. And we need to make sure that the younger attorneys, as we're bringing them up, that they have the tools that they need and then putting them in a position to succeed rather than have to find out on their own as they've been practicing for 10 years, giving them the tools now so that they can be successful moving forward to help the defense bar, to be more successful, to allow them to be better at their jobs so that we can reduce the nuclear verdicts and we can reduce essentially the waste that's being spent by these corporations paying for settlements that they didn't need to pay that much for. One of the other things we want to talk about is training. A lot of times on the podcast, we talk about more focus needs to be on this, more focus needs to be on that. Their younger attorneys need to be trained on these things, but we don't ever really talk about what that training looks like. What is it that younger attorneys need in order to succeed? What's the training that they need? What's the information? What's the experience they need to get? What are the clues they need to attend? What should they be doing? So we want to focus more on that as far as the training that they can do going forward into the future.

And then finally, we want to talk about perceptions of different entities as COVID when it first broke out. There was a very strong, a positive feeling towards the first responders, medical personnel, EMTs, police officers. A lot of these people who are involved with the initial reactions to COVID. And now what we've seen, though, as the years have progressed, that this perception may not be as positive as it once was. Same thing with the trucking industry. When it first started, trucking industry had a little uptick in the perceptions and the positive perceptions of the trucking industry. However, from what we've seen recently, that positive view has tend to wane a little bit, and it's moving back more towards the negative views that people once had of the trucking industry. So we want to do is more focused on where are we at now? Currently has these perceptions. And then what can we do in the future in order to get those doctors, get those nurses, get those first responders back up to the positive views that they had at the height of COVID and the same thing with the trucking industry? What can we do to alleviate and improve those negative views that people have? Because, as I've always said before, at the end of the day, these people that are driving the trucks that are delivering your goods, those are human beings that are dealing with things. And when tragedy happens, they have to deal with them too. You know, if someone is injured, seriously, if someone dies the truck drivers, they have to deal with that personally. It's not something they just walk away from. So we need to understand more about the perceptions that jurors have and then how to move forward to improve those perceptions because the new killer verdicts are happening because people are seeing these entities as big bad entities who are nameless, faceless, heartless. So we need to make sure we do what we can in order to change these perceptions of these individuals.

So that's what we got planned going for twenty twenty two. If anybody is interested in coming on and talking on these topics, we're always looking for new guests and we appreciate new content. Feel free to reach out to me at swood@CourtroomSciences.com. Feel free to reach out to Bill at bkanasky@CourtroomSciences.com. We'll also be continuing to put up new content on the website at CourtroomSciences.com. You can find all of our old podcasts, blogs, write ups that we have there. Feel free to go there and check that out. And I hope to look forward to a new year with new information and I enjoy doing the podcast. I enjoy all the feedback we've got and appreciate you, the listeners and the viewers for everything that you've contributed. Can't say that enough. This has been another edition of the Litigation Psychology podcast brought to you by Courtroom Sciences Inc.