“It’s integrity. If you don’t have integrity in your thoughts, it’s going to show. You’re going to come across as fake, and nobody wants to be associated with that.”
Victoria Rusk, a mitigation specialist and investigator from Houston, TX, credits the Trial Lawyers College’s In Defense of the Damned program with giving her the tools that enhance her civil case preparation and her strategy for consulting criminal defense attorneys. She helps clients understand what mitigation is and how the discovery and presentation of their background is critical to saving their life.
The TLC method teaches that if the jury perceives that an attorney is disconnected from or embarrassed about their client, the jury could adopt that bias and judge the client harshly. Drawing from this, Rusk feels that assessing the case and witnesses help a lawyer better understand their clients’ background.
When attorneys genuinely empathize with their clients, they can present their client’s mitigation story in a compelling way that helps jurors to overcome the feelings of anger stirred up by the prosecutor. Trial Lawyers College teaches lawyers to identify universal themes to be those many people can relate to, such as parenthood or significant loss.
“As a mitigation specialist, we meet people where they are.”