Season 1 – Episode 01 ·

Success Starts from Within with Rick Friedman

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You don’t want to miss the Elawvate interview of Rick Friedman, one of America’s pre-eminent plaintiff trial lawyers and teachers. We talk to Rick about his latest book, The Way of the Trial Lawyer: Beyond Technique (published by TrialGuides and available now — The Way of the Trial Lawyer – Trial Guides).

What Will You Learn From Listening to this Episode?

The Power of Moral Advocacy

In this episode, you will learn about the power the comes from developing what Rick calls ethos, or the authenticity and credibility that stems from advocacy tied to core moral principles and beliefs. Rick explains that lawyers are trained to become skilled technicians in logical argument (logos) and to harness the power of emotion (pathos), but few develop the ability to “run on all cylinders” by adding the power of moral advocacy (ethos).

Personal Understanding and Growth

Rick provides a roadmap that lawyers can follow to develop the strength that comes with moral advocacy. The first step involves looking inward—to resolve any cognitive dissonance or moral conflict you may have, and to achieve clarity of mission. Rick explains how the “zealous advocacy,” “win at all costs” approach trial law is a cynical model built on corporate values, and lacks the power of a moral approach built on human values. Instead, Rick advocates fighting for a cause, beyond just winning the case.

Rick explains that to harness the power of moral advocacy, the lawyer must “enter the dark alley” to confront and overcome personal demons or character issues that may be stunting personal growth and development. Such issues include over-emphasis on personal ego, a knee-jerk resort to self-pity or macho “tough guy” image, or irrational and outsized fear--fear of losing, performance anxiety, or fear of the loss of a cultivated self image.

Moral Energy and Steadiness

Once a lawyer has done the hard work to grow as a person and to commit to a moral advocacy model, Rick explains that the lawyer can then marshal these powerful forces as a means of persuasion. To do so requires identifying the core moral issues and forces that bear on a dispute, and to understand which of those will resonate most strongly with the jury.

Rick Friedman

Photo of Rick Friedman

Rick started his career in a small town in Alaska as a lawyer with no staff, where he developed a love for studying the books and transcripts of great trial lawyers. He built his career representing the poor, injured, and mistreated, sharing with jurors the truth about his clients’ injuries and what caused them. His trial method is to present the truth to the jury, and effectively counter defense tactics to distort the truth. He has developed methods for clearly showing jurors how defendants have broken the rules that protect all of us. Lawyers all over the country now ask him for help in trying their cases.

Among Rick’s landmark cases are Bellott v. State Farm, a $152,000,000 jury verdict on behalf of a client whose insurance agency agreement was terminated in retaliation for his refusal to engage in dishonest marketing practices; Washington v. Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada LLC, a $104,000,000 jury verdict for the infection of his client with Hepatitis C due to the defendant’s multi-dose vials of Propofol; Myrick v. Mastagni, a jury verdict believed to be the first case in California holding a building owner liable for injuries sustained in an earthquake; and Robinson v. State Farm, which exposed State Farm’s use of false doctor’s reports to deny claims. He has obtained four verdicts that ranked in the top ten verdicts of the year in the United States. He is a member and past president of the Inner Circle of Advocates as well as a member of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers and the American College of Trial Lawyers.

Rick is a graduate of Harvard Law School and in addition to The Way of the Trial Lawyer: Beyond Technique is the author or co-author of four other bestselling legal books: Rules of the Road: A Plaintiff Lawyer’s Guide to Proving Liability, Polarizing the Case, Becoming a Trial Lawyer, The Elements of Trial. These books have revolutionized how thousands of lawyers try their cases. Rick is licensed to practice in Alaska, Washington, Nevada, Kentucky and California, but also regularly appears pro hac vice in other state and federal courts around the country.

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