Dirk Vandever

Popham Law Firm

Bio soon to be updated

Every Trial Deserves Memorable Tagline(s)!

Every Trial Deserves Memorable Tagline(s)!


All too often the pithy saying which captures the essence of your trial is an afterthought . . . sometimes even after the trial itself. Lawyers excel at preparation so they are able to stack fact upon fact upon fact leaving jurors bleary-eyed at the mass of information coming at them without a lens to focus on what is most meaningful. Every client deserves a lawyer who, as a part of their pre-trial preparation, actually sits down and spends time coming up with these sayings. In a case where small changes in life seem to relegate a case to minimal value perhaps the lens is, “Enjoy the little things in life because one day you will look back and realize they were the big things” (Kurt Vonnegut). In yet another trial where the defendant creates terrific written policies which were not followed the lens would be, “Actions speak louder than words.”

At the workshop, the participants should bring their upcoming trials to develop these critically important bite-sized “memory hooks” that the juror will use in sorting out and simplifying what we all too often try to complicate.

Dirk's Trial Manifesto

Dirk's Trial Manifesto


Forget those brief checklists dedicated to only one part of the trial. THIS is the lecture and breakout session you need to create and use powerful and winning themes in ANY case. Why reinvent the wheel or rely upon happenstance to construct the lens through which you want jurors to see your case. You will receive a one page trial theme checklist on every part of your case tied to a process of select memorable themes and visuals.

Taking a page out of the airlines play book, trial lawyers should not have to start out with a blank piece of paper to begin gathering themes in their cases. A quick run through a structured checklist of reminders of what has worked in the past can be highly helpful. Mastery of the facts alone creates the temptation (to which we have all succumbed at one time or another) to regurgitate each one of those facts to jurors creating an unnecessary cognitive overload on things they really do not need. What they do need is a simple, straightforward, common sense guide to how they view the mountain of evidence. Without checklists airplanes would literally fall out of the sky with frightening frequency. It was “Sully” (Captain Sully Sullenberger who fashioned the Miracle On The Hudson) who has over the years decried the lack of more guidance for healthcare providers arguing that if airline travels resulted in the same death rate as hospitals there would be justifiable outcries for Congressional hearings to fix the problems. All professionals can fall back on the comfort of stating, “it is just a judgment call” or spend a little more time on a structure that makes those judgments more powerful. Dirk Vandever will present not only the actual checklist but also work with how to use the checklist to gather themes which then, of course, are tailored to your unique cases.

The one hour lecture (as well as a 1 hour pre-breakout session Zoom meeting) will initially focus on the use of an ever-changing checklists. The breakout sessions will then focus on steps on how to tailor those recurring themes to your cases. While this is preferably done at the beginning of a case, if you are called in on a last moment basis to try a case, this provides some guidance to quickly gather those themes. It is hoped in the breakout session that people will bring their specific cases or specific recurring problems they have to work out how themes are gathered.

TLU Live HB Agenda