October 12, 2016 at 6:00 PM Pacific
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Pre-Paid (Non-Member): $55.00
Pay at the Door (Member): $60.00
Pay at the Door (Non-Member): $70.00

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Secrets of Oral Persuasion: Moving From the Expert Report to the Witness Chair

Most people in the courtroom, even trial attorneys and judges, give little thought to the historical and cultural roots of the trial. Trial consultant and anthropologist Sarah Murray shares insights in the roots of today's trial in the oral communication and investigative modes that structured knowledge in the medieval period and what that tells us about what experts need to do to communicate persuasively in today's courtroom. Sarah goes beyond war stories and trial tips to reveal the deep psychological and cultural structures that underlie the trial ritual. Understanding these structures will help you become a winning expert on the stand.


Sarah Murray is an anthropologist, writer, teacher, and performance coach who has been working as a trial consultant since 1999. She founded Trialcraft in 2012 to serve her clients in new ways and oversees a team of consultants and research assistants who work with her to mount litigation research; assist clients in pre-trial, trial and post-trial work; and coach trial attorneys to reach the highest levels of trial performance.


Trained at Bryn Mawr College and UC-Berkeley, Sarah was a Fulbright Scholar and University Fellow and conducted field research in Indonesia for two years before turning her talents to litigation research, jury decision making and trial communication.


Sarah specializes in helping counsel resolve emotionally, intellectually and legally complex cases, both civil and criminal. A master persuader and story teller, Sarah quickly cuts through the thickets of your case facts to identify the key psychological decisions that jury or judge must make. Once she understands these key decisions, she works with her team to craft a trial story that activates the levers that will move jurors or judge to your side.


She assists in all phases of trial, including pre-trial jury research (mock trials, focus groups, mock hearings and arbitrations) and theme, strategy and graphics development; in trial with jury selection, witness preparation, assisting with opening statements and closing arguments, and running shadow juries; and post-trial with post trial interviews and trial post mortems. She also coaches attorneys in jury selection and voir dire skills with a trial-tested method of developing cause challenges that allows counsel to gain tactical control of the selection process.


Sarah is known for her skillful work with both expert and fact witnesses and regularly prepares witnesses for testimony in high stakes cases for a major medical provider in the Pacific Northwest and a large national title and title insurance company. For many years, she taught financial professionals the ins and outs of effective expert testimony at the National Association of Valuation Analyst’s (NACVA) expert witness “bootcamp” and she has prepared many technical and economics experts for deposition and trial testimony in patent and antitrust cases. Her anthropology training enables her to evaluate jurors in multinational jury pools from a fresh and informed perspective as well as identify and solve cross-cultural communication challenges faced by foreign witnesses.


Sarah has worked on a wide range of case types over her career but at this point, works primarily on cases that are high stakes, involve complex case facts and legal issues and often emotionally charged situations or parties who face high levels of bias. These include criminal and civil antitrust, sex crimes and murder cases; patent and intellectual property, contract and complex commercial cases; insurance coverage disputes; employment defense; class actions; medical malpractice defense and asbestos defense. Sarah has also developed a specialty in title insurance bad faith, title and escrow fraud and negligence claims, and mechanics liens litigation. Sarah has worked in almost every state in the union but has particularly deep experience in California, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, Florida, Illinois and Ohio.


Basque Cultural Center
599 Railroad Avenue
South San Francisco, CA 94080

Phone: 650-583-8091