Personalize the Corporate Defendant to Sway Jurors!

Personalize the Corporate Defendant to Sway Jurors!

Selecting a corporate representative is a crucial part of the trial preparation process. The corporate representative will serve as the corporate client’s face and voice in the courtroom throughout trial.[i] Their selection and presentation can influence the jury’s perception of the defendant and, ultimately, the verdict.[ii]

When a panel of potential jurors first learns the defendant is a corporation, many will jump to conclusions and assume the corporation is a large faceless entity with deep pockets.[iii] Personalizing the corporate defendant is a critical step to take during litigation – otherwise, jurors will bring their preconceived notions about corporations into the deliberation room.[iv] Select a corporate representative to combat this. Personalizing the corporate defendant tells the jury who the client is and shares their story, creating a defense narrative jurors can relate to.[v]

Imagine representing a tow truck company involved in a catastrophic accident. Consider what jurors may think off the bat: are most people’s experiences with tow truck companies pleasant? Many people have experienced the sinking feeling of realizing their car has been towed and they have to deal with the expensive hassle of retrieving their car from the tow yard. It is important to combat jurors’ preconceived notions about the corporate defendant.

Now imagine the owner of the tow truck company sitting through every single day of trial, giving a face to the company and proving his investment in the case. Imagine sharing the owner’s story with jurors – how the owner’s father started this business and passed it along to him, and how his family is there for people when their cars break down on the highway and cannot get to the mechanic. Spending time telling the jury about the human behind the company will change the jury’s initial assumptions and perceptions and humanize the corporate defendant.[vi]

A corporate representative may be subjected to a tough cross-examination if called to testify, so take that into account! It is critical to ensure the corporate representative is likable, relatable, presents well, and, above all else, is prepared.[vii] If the risk of cross-examination outweighs the benefits of favorable testimony, it may be better not to call your corporate representative; however, even if the representative does not testify, it is still critical to personalize the corporate defendant through voir dire and opening statements.[viii]



With a corporate defendant, do not overlook the crucial step of finding an effective corporate representative. Select a corporate representative who will help humanize the corporate defendant, be present every day throughout the trial, and show the jury that they are invested in the outcome of the case.



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[i] Robert F. Tyson, Jr., Nuclear Verdicts® 121 (2020).

[ii] Id. at 122.

[iii] Id. at 119.

[iv] Id.

[v] Id.

[vi] Id.

[vii] Id. at 122.

[viii] Id.