Kung Fu For Trial
Martial art is an ancient tradition and codified system of combat practices done for an array of reasons. These are competition, self-defense, fitness, physical health, entertainment, as well as spiritual, physical, and mental development. The term martial art is familiar with the combat arts of eastern Asia, but its real origin is in Europe. In fact, the term is a Latin word, meaning “arts of war”. In the traditional Korean society, martial art was also essential for the growth of philosophical and spiritual wellbeing of the practitioner1. Furthermore, their taekwondo skills were necessary for building a person’s inner peace, achieved through personal mediation and training2. This paper discusses the martial arts history, benefits and the way it is applied in our day-to-day lives and professions. An example of a lawyer who integrated martial art principles in his career is discussed; the principles helped him to become a reputable figure in front of his peers, clients and the general legal environment.
The Use of Martial Arts to Teach Lawyers How to Act in the Courtroom Benefits of Martial Arts in Relation to Law Practice
The art of combat has many advantages. First, many practitioners are in it for self-confidence. Most law professionals should embrace this art, since it enhances one’s confidence to face perceived insurmountable situations with ease and composure. Self-belief allows an individual to remain calm in stressful situations. It helps a person to assess a dilemma more clearly and act accordingly; it is an important factor in law practice. The lawyer must be able to conduct himself in a cool, calm and composed manner all the time during the trial3. Loss of temper is unacceptable in this profession. Lawyers have the duty of defending themselves and their clients fiercely during trials and other court procedures. Martial art techniques also enhance a lawyer’s preparedness for a tribunal case. Building alertness is a characteristic feature of this fighting art4.
Developed Strategy from the Martial Arts to Apply to the Courtroom
Martial art is widely known to be effective in producing positive psychological and social changes to a practitioner. It helps to boost the mental preparedness of an individual. This is vital for lawyers in arranging one’s interaction with other professionals, as well as increase sharpness and person’s reaction. The field of law needs well-organized people with excellent organizational skills. Furthermore, for lawyers to conduct investigations, they need to be social and approachable, as well as mentally sharp and creative. Building trust, the aptitude of making ambiguous information easily comprehended and developing an understanding with jurors are necessary qualities of a good lawyer. The above factors explain the significant role martial art can play to nurture these qualities.
An example of counsel who has managed to integrate this art of combat to his law career is the case of a lawyer who practiced his trade in Wichita, Canada. He was a criminal law attorney and a partner in a local law firm. He used martial arts to instruct lawyers in handling themselves in the courtrooms. He believes that the art gives individuals ideas to think in a creative way about defense in criminal cases. In most cases, he has invariably involved the services of his wife who is a Kung fu master to select juries and other trial procedures. He further claims that she has given him valuable strategies for over ten years and terms her as his secret weapon5.
Continuing Education Program Based on Trial Techniques and the Martial Arts for the Courtroom
The lawyer uses Kung fu techniques to teach his audience mostly criminal lawyers how to prepare pre-trials, research information about trial judges, attorneys, clerks and advise the clients’ relatives on how to behave during trials. In return, the lawyers who have attended this training sessions express their gratification with the martial art techniques. An attorney in Canada acknowledges the effectiveness of these methods and shows great admiration for him. This technique has earned him numerous victories in the courtrooms, earning him great respect and awe from many law professionals. Some of his admirers point out his passion and belief when representing his clients. He says that he will spread these techniques further to other professionals, willing to learn from him in different parts of the world.
As a case Study, he mentioned three important court cases that have uplifted his reputation as a competent law practitioner. He successfully defended an employee accused of embezzling her employer’s $2.6 million. She went in for sixteen counts of money laundering and bank fraud in 1998. He ensured her acquittal, even though she incurred a penalty of $75, 000 for tax evasion. In addition, her sentence was only to serve five years in jail. Another successful case was that of a photographer facing a grand jury inquiry into child pornography charges due to photographs that appeared in his book. The book was sold in some local book vending stores. The jury vindicated him of the charges for lack of evidence6.
Drawing from Principles in Martial Arts and Sun Tzu's “The Art of War”
The “Art of War” is Sun Tzu’s ancient Chinese military treatise. He was a highly ranked military general, tactician, and strategist. The text has thirteen chapters, each devoted to an aspect of warfare. It is highly regarded as the ultimate work on military tactics and strategy of its time. It has remained as the most vital military treatise in Asia, where it is widely known by ordinary people. It has also practiced by the Eastern and Western countries for military thinking, as well as influencing many business strategies and legal tactics, including trial strategies and negotiation tactics7.
Despite the fact that the Art of War is an authoritative military strategy treatise on military tactics and strategies, it is not a military theory book. The knowledge of Taoism, most notably the book of changes (I Ching) and the Way and its Power (Tao-te Ching) inspire The Art of War. The books assert that the warfare aims at victory without battle, invincibility and indisputable strength through comprehending the politics, psychology and physics of conflict. It follows a minimalist/rationalist approach to conflict decree and offers insights on the importance of understanding the psychology of conflicts. In addition, it has teachings on war resolutions or its avoidance at the same time.
A good lawyer should apply most of the recommendations in this book. Thirteen chapters of the book enable the law professionals to align their practices efficiently to meet the demands of the field. If individuals understand some of the structures of The Art of War laying plans, attack by stratagem, waging war, and many more, they will become efficient in the law profession. The book teaches people on skillfulness and use of deception, secrecy or misdirection to win contests. It also emphasizes on the need to be prepared for a conflict.
The failure of inadequate preparations before or in a courtroom may lead to a disaster. The preparation for pre-trials begins upon the receipt and acceptance of the case. This process should ensure that legible, accurate and complete documentation of all records is efficient to reduce the amount of time that a trial witness will stay on the stand or the amount of pre-trial preparation needed. Before the testimony, the lawyer should go through a complete case file, in addition to any other source or reference material enclosed in the case. The paralegal should also be prepared to ask and answer questions in the full trial. According to Berg, what you achieve in the pretrial phase determines the strength of your case and may have an influence on your performance at the full trial. He notes that the admission one observes in the first deposition creates a closing argument and other endless possibilities8.
In the pre-trial conferences, a lawyer should ensure that the accuracy, weight and research of the evidence available are undisputable and have no loopholes. He must be aware of the litigation rules and trial procedures to avoid incompetence on their side. The contested issues of law and facts, the uncontested facts, witness list, exhibit list and jury instructions should be availed by the lawyers to the judge during the pre-trial conference. It should be an informal meeting between lawyers, representing both sides and the judge involved in the case. The paralegal should also follow due process during the pre-trial order. At this stage, zero deviations are permitted by the pretrial order on the onset of the trial, hence the pretrial order should be absolute.
There are two standard methods used at this stage: the trial notebook method and the divider method.
- The Divider Method
When using this method, each part of the trial get a labeled, separate file divider, which contains in it all the necessary papers needed for that phase of the trial. The method ensures that the legal team has all the important materials for the trial9.
- The Trial Notebook Method
Under this method, the necessary materials for this section should be available in a three-ring notebook in a correct tabbed section. Once in the laptop, the materials can be located easily, reducing the chances of misplacement and loss.
The Trial Judge, Clerks, and Attorneys
A judge is a legal professional with the prerogative of overseeing court proceedings, either on the bench of magistrates or alone. Different legal systems offer different procedures when hiring these professionals. The judge has an obligation to be impartial and open. He hears the witnesses presented and peruses the proof brought forward by the parties in the case. He assesses the credibility and authenticity of the arguments presented and then makes a ruling on the issue at hand. This decision depends on the judge’s understanding of the law, as well as his/her personal judgments.
A clerk is a person providing administrative or research assistance to a judge, as well as write approved verdicts. In the court, there are two types of clerks: the law clerk and the tribunal clerk. The law clerk is mostly concerned with research work and opinion writing, while the court clerk is involved with other administrative duties. In addition, a law clerk is important in helping the judge make legal determinations. They are mostly law school graduates who excelled in their studies. Most of them end up being judges. Meanwhile, an attorney is the legal representative of the offender or complainant in a legal context. They carry out investigations to come up with arguments for a case trial of a party.
Instructing a Defendant's Family on How to Act, both Inside and Outside of the Courtroom
As much as the duty of an attorney is to follow their client’s instructions, they are also liable in preventing them from acting contrary to the court’s code of conduct. The lawyer should make sure the family of the defendant understands the implications of behaving against court norms. Misbehaving may lead to contempt of court, which is a crime in itself. These rules apply inside the courtroom, in the court building or beyond the perimeters of the court. Contempt occurs when one threatens a court witness inside or outside the tribunals. An offensive approach to the jurors and other court officials is also a serious crime10.
Building Trust, the Ability to Make Complicated Information Easily Understood, and Developing a Rapport with Jurors
Lawyers are highly advised to build up and maintain a cordial relationship with the jurors to allow for a smooth relationship. They should try to adopt and practice the Ethos-logos-Pathos (ELP) principles to become better professionals11. These policies provide law practitioners with a valuable framework for likeability and persuasive argument. They should win over the audience and increase their chances of winning the case. The ELP principles encourage the credibility, sincerity, and trustworthiness. They should be factual and logical in their arguments. In addition, the lawyers should establish an emotional connection with the audience, including the jurors.
The Consequences of Focusing on a Set of Questions during a Trial
Concentrating on a set of issues is an act that is widely used by many professional lawyers, even though it may sometimes deliver unexpected surprises. As a case trial advances, the nature and complexity changes and so does the context and language. If one had concentrated on a set of questions in this scenario, the consequences might be surprising. Hence, it is ideal that lawyers prepare questions for the progress of the case to avert the possibility of encountering this problem. In addition, concentrating on a set of issues may show ineptness and lack of creativity of a legal representative12.
Lawyers should strive to be the best in their fields by adopting new practices and always advance their careers. They should borrow inspirations from other areas, like those that some have done with military treatise contained in the Art of War. Law is a sensitive and complex field that needs dedication and tolerance to maneuver. They should be in tandem with all the court processes and procedures to reduce the chances of committing irreversible errors. Following the words of an Honorable justice, based on the Supreme Court in Ontario, we may observe, “Law is not justice, and a trial is not a scientific inquiry into the truth. A trial is the declaration of a dispute."