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Litigation Matters

Craig A. Thompson, Esq.

Craig A. Thompson, Esq.

Thompson is a partner with Venable LLP and a trial lawyer with 20 years of experience trying civil cases in state and federal courts throughout the country. He is a member of the board of directors of the International Association of Defense Counsel and lectures across the country on topics related to civil litigation.

If I Knew Then...

November/December 2016 - “The elevator to success is out of order. You’ll have to use the stairs, one step at a time” — Joe Girard. During a recent meeting with a group of young lawyers, an intriguing discussion developed surrounding the practice of law and the changing nature of litigation. Before the session ended, one of the lawyers asked me: “What does the 47 year old Craig wish that the 27 year old Craig knew about the law and trial work?”

by Craig A. Thompson, Esq.

What Is Your Brand?

September/October 2016 - THE OTHER DAY, MY FIVE YEAR-OLD SON was walking around the house singing “Nationwide® is on your siiiide” in the tune of the jingle heard in various commercials, some of which feature former NFL star Peyton Manning. I do not recall a specific time during which we watched one of these commercials together, and can only guess the number of times he may have seen them outside of my presence. Whatever that number might be, the jingle stuck. And a five year-old boy who is nowhere close to purchasing insurance—and cannot spell the word Nationwide on his own—is roaming around his surroundings singing a corporate brand jingle.

by Craig A. Thompson, Esq.

“Grandma Says ...”: An Old-School Approach to Courtroom Decorum

May/June 2016 - WHEN WE WERE YOUNG many of us were influenced by a number of forces. For large numbers of us, our grandparents also influenced us and provided sage and timely life lessons. In many cases, it was our grandmothers who laid down the rules and identified the social norms that were appropriate in the house but would lead to success in the world.

by Craig A. Thompson, Esq.

Where is the Black Swan?

March/April 2016 - IN THE LAST COLUMN, we discussed the importance of situational awareness in litigation, and described the first of several questions that must be asked in order to “know where you are.” Below are the additional questions that will assist us in settling into to any environment during the litigation process.

by Craig A. Thompson, Esq.

Situational Awareness

January/February 2016 - I CAN TELL YOU THE LICENSE PLATE NUMBERS OF ALL SIX CARS OUTSIDE. I can tell you that our waitress is left-handed, and the guy sitting up at the counter weighs 215 pounds and knows how to handle himself. I know the best place to look for a gun is the cab of the gray truck outside, and at this altitude, I can run flat out for a half mile before my hands start shaking. – Jason Bourne

by Craig A. Thompson, Esq.

Dominate the Center: The Key to Victory, Part 2

September/October 2015 -DOMINATION OF THE CENTER IN TRIAL means taking control of one or more aspects of the trial while creating space to frame other areas of the litigation. Three important strategies can be employed to make it happen. The first item we discussed in our last issue was to “start with the end in mind.”

by Craig A. Thompson, Esq.

Dominate the Center: The Key To Victory, Part 1

July/August 2015 - I LIKE TO WATCH THE GAME OF CHESS being played. I am not a very good player, but truly appreciate the strategic thinking involved in the game. It appears that the stronger chess players embrace the “dominate the center” philosophy, which allows them to control the most active portions of the chessboard while also creating space to control the rest of the board. Although it takes great skill to see the entire board with those two goals in mind, the master is successful because s/he plans properly and focuses on the importance of the endgame.

by Craig A. Thompson, Esq.

Don’t Be Afraid To Be Afraid

May/June 2015 - TRIAL LAWYERS ARE, IN ESSENCE, WELL-DRESSED WARRIORS. Warriors are driven, strong and courageous—and they are also full of fear. The idea of a fearless warrior is a myth. This is an important lesson for trial lawyers–especially younger trial lawyers–and should not be discounted. From the first (or 50th) deposition to the first (or 100th) closing argument, the emotion of fear is a consistent presence in the litigation experience.

by Craig A. Thompson, Esq.

What’s Your Story?

March/April 2015 - TRIAL LAWYERS ARE, IN ESSENCE, WELL-DRESSED STORYTELLERS. Our roles are to develop themes that inspire action, introduce evidence that can be understood and present witnesses who connect. These elements of trial are essential to creating the necessary momentum to win. The best movie and television directors know these elements as well and provide us with scenes, circumstances and characters that keep us engaged and ready to do something—even if that “something” is to tune in again for the next show or sequel

by Craig A. Thompson, Esq.

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