A trial lawyer's framework to solve anything

A trial lawyer's framework to solve anything

December 23, 2020

“Dude, that’s brilliant. You could sell that.”


I didn’t even know how to respond to this statement because what I had just said didn’t seem all that impressive to me. I spent the rest of the day reflecting on this interaction.


The topic we had been discussing was how I worked up every single case in my career as a trial lawyer. Thousands of cases. Each one approached the exact same way.


Read the entire case file. 


Then I would walk away. I didn’t take a single note. I didn’t ask a single question. I just read everything, watched all the videos, and listened to every piece of audio.


This is my wheelhouse. I can walk in, absorb an entire case that lawyers have worked on for months or years and identify exactly what the narrative should be, the framing of the story, and what the other side will try to use so that we can be prepared and lay traps and counter moves.


But the first step is just to absorb it all.


I won’t even talk about it for a few days. The other inputs would remove my brain’s ability to do its job. Put the pieces together and start building connections.


I’ve said this before, but it’s my favorite part about Roam Research. It acts like my brain. Input the information and watch it do its thing. It’s beautiful. It’s powerful. It’s mysterious.


The second step is taking this time to let the brain do its thing.


The third step is to go back into the case and look at the pieces. Take notes. Ask questions. 


It’s effective because my brain has already figured out the weak points. It has drawn the logical connections. So the macro analysis is completed and then I move onto the micro. This is where I can work with the big picture and also the small details. 


How do the pieces fit together? Where are the inconsistencies? What can be exposed? 


Most of all, what will the other side miss or not expect and how can I exploit and use that.


This is the life of a trial lawyer. It’s brutal. It’s exhilarating. It’s life-changing.

Photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash


But what stood out today in this conversation is how I explained this process in terms of my approach to materials in Consulting Club run by Vik Duggal. It’s a brilliant program filled with inspiring people. I was talking to another member, Young, about how I was finding so much value in the 2nd watch of the videos. I explained to him how unlike when he went through it, I never took notes and just watched the 15 hours of video as quickly as possible to absorb it all.


I took a week away and then dove back into them piece by piece. The lightbulbs went off. The connections started to all make sense. And yes that means I have to go through it a second time. But I promise it’s far more effective.


In a trial, I could recall any fact, statement, or piece of evidence because of this approach. I could spot a lie or inconsistency immediately without ever having to look into the case file again. The macro approach followed with the micro created a map inside of my brain. Every piece is laid out on an individual level but also connected to the entire picture. 


The ironic thing is I thought this was a widely used approach. It’s how I read books. It’s how I watch movies. It’s how I do everything.


When I help students review speeches my advice is a two-step approach.


First, watch the entire speech and tell me how you felt. 


Second, watch again and tell me what was confusing, powerful, and the best and worst lines.


So again you see. Macro first. Microsecond.


Without Young, I wouldn’t have realized this was unique.


Without my trial work over 7 years, I wouldn’t have created this framework to break down any case and now any complex set of information.


So I’m calling this the Trial Lawyer’s Framework for Analysis. At least for now.


Maybe I will sell a much more in-depth version down the line. Because trust me, this is the SparkNotes version. 


But just like SparkNotes, this article is free.


It’s my framework. It worked to convict murderers and child abusers. It worked to save innocent people when wrongfully accused.


It works to break down books and complicated subject matter.


It works to be asked to consult on high stakes cases by other lawyers.


It works when I help founders and CEOs clarify and convey their story and narrative to attract funding, talent, and ideal customers.


I bet that it will work for you.

Sign up for my FREE 21 day email series on becoming the speaker of your dreams.

Interested in working with me? Reach out to me at Robbie@robbiecrab.com

Or find me on Twitter @Robbiecrab

Want to know more about Consulting Club? Reach out to me or check it out at Consulting Club.

Photo by Carlos on Unsplash

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