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The Litigator’s Playbook: No Loose Ends
and No Unanswered Questions

The Design of Convincing and Compelling Opening Statements

by Jeri Kagel, M.Ed., J.D.

As the trial begins, jurors feel as though they have just entered a foreign country. These strangers in a strange land are unsure how to navigate through their surroundings when suddenly someone stands up and talks to them, suggesting, “Follow me, I can help you find your way through this.” They begin to follow when suddenly someone else starts talking and motioning to them, “No, no. Follow me. My way through this is better.” In real life, your jurors have just listened to your, and your opposing counsel’s, opening statements.

Everyone, attorneys and witnesses, convey different parts of a story at trial – that story is your version of what happened and why. Opening statements are the first time you tell your story from beginning to end. Attorneys are much less dependent on “picking the right jury” when they spend time designing a convincing theme and presenting it in a compelling manner that initially engages, and makes the most sense to, a wide variety of jurors.

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First Impression Makes Lasting Impression on DeKalb Bar: Reflections On Aubrey Jones

by Katie Wood

Aubrey Jones

Aubrey Jones

First impressions do count. For nearly four years, that first impression of the DeKalb Bar Association has come from our executive director, Aubrey Jones. Aubrey has announced that she is leaving the DBA after our May luncheon to return to her native Orlando, Florida, to be closer to her family. So it seems fitting to reflect on the lasting impression Aubrey’s hard work and kind spirit will have on the DBA.

Aubrey Gets Us Focused
When Aubrey came to the DBA in September 2006, we had been without an executive director for the summer and frankly things were a bit of a mess. Mike Hawkins, who was the DBA president at that time, recalls “feeling overwhelmed when I was first elected. The single thing that allowed me to resume sleep at night was the hiring of Aubrey Jones as our executive director.”

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Scene at the April Bar Luncheon

DeKalb Bar members met for lunch in April to enjoy fellowship and delicious menu choices by Badda Bing. The luncheon speaker was DeKalb County Recorders Court Chief Judge Nelly Withers, who educated and informed the crowd with a presentation called…

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DeKalb Bar Celebrates Law Day in May with School Visits, Poster and Essay Contests

The DeKalb Bar Association will celebrate Law Day throughout May. The 2010 Law Day theme is Law in the 21st Century: Enduring Traditions, Emerging Challenges. Law Day was established in 1958 by the American Bar Association to bring attention to the principles and practice of American law and justice. It is officially celebrated on May 1 of each year by bar associations, courts, judges, and legal professionals across the country.

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A Nation Divided – the Role Lawyers Should Play in Its Healing

by Rachel A. Elovitz

As we approach the sesquicentennial anniversary of the American Civil War, we have a responsibility – to the children of the next 150 years – to ask ourselves some tough questions. Where are we now as a nation in relation to where we were then? What lessons have we learned? What mistakes have we repeated? How can we avoid them in the future, and in our efforts to evolve as a nation, what role should the legal community play?

A century-and-a-half ago, in his infamous Dred Scott decision, Supreme Court Justice Roger B. Taney ruled that African slaves were chattel, property of which their owners could not be deprived in the absence of due process, “beings . . . so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.” We were a “house divided,” languishing in a schism so consuming that shortly after congressional nominee Abraham Lincoln highlighted its schizophrenic state, the house exploded – behind the white smoke of Springfield muskets and Harpers Ferry rifles.

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A New Juvenile Code:
The Purpose and Status of Senate Bill 292

A statewide coalition garners bipartisan support

by Rachel Elovitz

After three years of development, Senate Bill (SB) 292, also known as the Child Protection and Public Safety Act, was introduced by Senator Bill Hamrick at the conclusion of the 2009 session of the Georgia General Assembly. If passed, it would supplant the current provisions of the Georgia Code that govern our state’s response to children and their families in cases involving deprivation (abuse and neglect), delinquency, unruliness, and truancy.

The goal of SB 292 is to reorganize, modernize, simplify, and streamline the juvenile court sections of the Code to enable the state and practitioners to more readily and effectively address the needs of Georgia’s children and families. The changes are both administrative and substantive, the latter of which are designed to reflect a wealth of knowledge that has been gleaned in the last 40 years since the existing Code was adopted. Senate Bill 292 will also bring Georgia into compliance with federal mandates concerning juvenile court proceedings.

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