Trial Lawyers and Trial Teams of the Year to be honored at 2019 Trial Lawyers Summit

Recent Personal Injury Jury Awards and SettlementsThe National Law Journal and The Trial Lawyer, the official magazine of The National Trial Lawyers, have announced the 2018 Trial Lawyers and Trial Team of the Year. The lawyers and team were chosen from nominations from The Trial Lawyer magazine’s readers and reflect those which have shaped the legal profession through leadership, innovation and success in the practice of civil plaintiff or criminal defense law. Each of these outstanding lawyers and team members were chosen for their professional achievements, trial results and effective impact in the legal community.

The Mass Tort Trial Team of the Year is Brent Wisner, David Dickens and Mark Burton for Johnson v. Monsanto, et al. DeWayne “Lee” Johnson brought his claim in California against Monsanto concerning Roundup and Ranger Pro products containing glyphosate.  The jury awarded $289M consisting of $39M in compensatory damages and $250M in punitive damages.

The Products Liability Trial Team of the Year is Frank Branson, Chip Brooker, Debbie Branson and Eric Stahl of Dallas for Reavis v. Toyota, et al. A rear-end accident left two children with skull fractures and brain injuries. The Texas jury awarded $242M consisting of $99M in compensatory damages and $143M in punitive damages. Chip Brooker is now with Brooker Law, PLLC, Dallas. Frank Branson, Debbie Branson and Eric Stahl are with The Law Offices of Frank L. Branson, PC, Dallas.

The Class Action Trial Lawyer of the Year is Bob Clifford of Chicago for Hale v. State Farm, et al. State Farm agreed to pay $250 million on the brink of trial to policyholders who claimed the company tried to rig the Illinois justice system to wipe out a $1.06 billion jury verdict from 19 years prior.

The Medical Malpractice Trial Lawyers of the Year are Brian McKeen of Detroit for Tran v. William Beaumont Hospital, et al, and NTL member Kennan Dandar of Tampa for Carter v. University of South Florida Health, et al. In McKeen’s case, hospital employees negligently attempted to insert an IV into a 2-year-old prior to a kidney scan.  This resulted in breathing episode and loss of oxygen for and ultimately causing permanent and severe brain damage and cerebral palsy.  After the three-week trial, the Michigan jury deliberated for six hours before returning a $130M verdict. In Dandar’s case, during laparoscopic surgery to remove an ovarian cyst, the surgeon transected completely through the bowel.  Surgeries were eventually performed to correct the perforation, but infection ultimately led to gangrene in the plaintiff’s hands and feet requiring amputations below her elbows and knees. After the three trials and two hung juries this jury awarded $109 million.

The Trucking Trial Lawyer of the Year is NTL member Brent Goudarzi of Gilmer, TX for Patterson v. FTS International, et al and McPherson v. Jefferson Trucking, et al.   In the first case, a Texas jury awarded $101M consisting of $26M in compensatory damages and $75M in punitive damages after rear-ending the plaintiff while driving impaired.  In the second case, a Texas jury awarded $260M to the plaintiffs as compensation for mental anguish for a tractor-trailer collision.

The Criminal Defense Trial Lawyer of the Year is Benjamin Brafman of Manhattan. He has represented a wide range of high-profile celebrities, business leaders, lawyers and medical professionals in major criminal cases throughout the country, Canada, Europe, Israel, and South Africa including Jay Z, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Plaxico Burress, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Martin Shkreli and currently Harvey Weinstein.

The Civil Plaintiff Trial Lawyer of the Year is National Trial Lawyers President Mark Lanier of Houston for Ingham, et al v. J&J et al.  In this case 22 women (six of whom had died prior to trial) brought claims in Missouri against Johnson &Johnson concerning cancer resulting from their long-term use of J&J’s talcum products containing asbestos.  The jury awarded $4.69B consisting of $550M in compensatory damages and $4.14B in punitive damages.

The National Trial Lawyers will honor the lawyers and firms of the year at the upcoming Trial Lawyers Summit being held in South Beach, Florida January 20-23, 2019 at the Loews Miami Beach hotel. The lawyers and law firms will be recognized at the Trial Lawyers Award Luncheon on Monday, January 21st at noon. University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban will be the keynote speaker.

18 days till the Trial Lawyers Summit — Have you registered yet?

The 2018 Trial Lawyers Summit in South Beach is just 18 days away, starting on Sunday, February 4. Have you registered and finalized your plans to attend the greatest gathering of trial lawyers in the US? Don’t miss the #1 meeting of the best and most successful legal minds in America!

  • An AMAZING lineup of over 100 of the nation’s top speakers covering the latest trends, new case types and topics.
  • Earn a year’s worth of CLE credits in 4 days (24+ CLE hours & Ethics)
  • Get new referrals! Engage with America’s most influential and respected trial lawyers on major projects of interest.
  • Words of Wisdom from The Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame—Gain insight from top trial lawyers in American history.
  • For the 5th year in a row, The Trial Lawyer magazine has rated the Trial Lawyers Summit the #1 Conference of the Year!

The Trial Lawyers Summit will be February 4-7 at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel in South Beach, Florida. Don’t wait! Register now and join us for an experience that will be both memorable and valuable!

Win a Tesla from Crisp Video at the Trial Lawyers Summit!

How would you like to win a Tesla Model X 100D worth $130,000 from Crisp Video at the 2018 Trial Lawyers Summit?

Crisp Video Group is a national video marketing and production company that has helped hundreds of attorneys around the country see a 300% ROI and 2-10x increase in average case values using legal video marketing.

The Tesla Model X 100D is the grand prize in Crisp Video Group’s ongoing referral program, and you must be a Crisp client to be eligible to win.

Not yet a Crisp client? Reach out to the Crisp team today to schedule a 15-minute strategy session and find out how legal video can take your marketing strategy to the next level just in time to dominate 2018.

If you haven’t done so already, register now to attend the Trial Lawyers Summit in South Miami Beach, Florida February 4-7, 2018. Crisp Video will be giving away the Tesla Model X on the last day of the Summit, February 7.

Click here for the eligibility rules and regulations and to enter for your chance to win a Tesla at the Trial Lawyers Summit!

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Combating the Rise of Commoditization: 3 Ways Legal Video Allows You to Stand Out From the Competition

Guest blog post by Michael Mogill, President and CEO of Crisp Video


With 1.3 million attorneys currently practicing in the United States and 35,000 hopeful law students graduating annually, to say that the legal industry is crowded is a gross understatement. The legal industry has an overabundance of attorneys all marketing themselves for similar skills, and while their background and education may differ, their end goal is the same: to run a successful business, represent clients, and practice law.


When you couple this overcrowding with the urgent need to drive business, many attorneys run the risk of commoditizing themselves. In a world where potential clients want answers immediately (and at a 25% discount, no less) it can be appealing to market yourself as an affordable and immediate solution to their problems.


But when you do that, you’re marketing yourself solely based on your ability to provide legal services rather than the value you provide. This not only dehumanizes your firm, but seriously devalues your abilities as an attorney and as a human.


With this in mind, it may seem daunting to promote yourself as the top choice in your market and stand out from the pack. And for many attorneys, promoting yourself as the top choice isn’t just daunting – it’s almost impossible. This is especially true when small firm attorneys try to go toe to toe against goliath firms with infinitely deep pockets and a never ending marketing budget.


So, what do you do? Do you throw in the towel? Do you retreat back to your desk and wait for the phones to ring, all the while wondering whether or not you’ll be able to keep your firm’s doors open?


The answer lies in the power of legal video marketing.


Legal video marketing, when done right, allows you to differentiate your law firm from the competition in three key ways:


  • Legal video allows you to humanize your firm through emotional storytelling


When potential clients are searching for an attorney, they’re not filtering their search results based on how many combined years of experience you have. And when they come to your office for a consultation, they’re not drawn to the law degree hanging on your wall – they’re drawn to the human behind the desk.


The vast majority of people seeking legal representation are not in those situations voluntarily. They’re scared, frustrated, confused, and they need answers. In these situations, scrolling through attorney biographies on legal websites that all look identical will not provide them what they desperately need: the comfort provided by someone who genuinely understands what they’re going through.


Here’s what this means for your video marketing strategy:


If you can work to create a legal brand video that introduces you as a person, not just as an attorney, and encapsulates your firm’s unique value proposition – what makes your firm different than your competition – you will be able to take advantage of a powerful persuasion technique that will establish an immediate connection with potential clients that compels them to convert.


Emotion is a powerful psychological phenomenon, and it has a larger impact on decision making than you’d think. In fact, scientists have found that 90% of our decisions are driven by emotion. This contradicts the common assumption that smart, informed decisions come from a “cool head” — relying on logic alone is not the best way to make a decision, so it also isn’t the best way to encourage people to make decisions.


Instead, if you incorporate emotional messaging into your video marketing strategy, you’ll make it easier for potential clients to make a decision.


Rachel Gillett of Fast Company has this to say about processing emotional stories and arguments: “When we read a story, not only do the language parts of our brains light up, but any other part of the brain that we would use if we were actually experiencing what we’re reading about becomes activated as well. What this means is that it’s far easier for us to remember stories than the cold hard facts because our brains make little distinction between an experience we are reading about and one that is actually happening.”



  • Legal video establishes and enhances social proof through client testimonials


Social proof is a powerful buzzword in the marketing industry. In layman’s terms, social proof is what happens when our decisions are influenced by the actions of others. When you’re standing in a room full of people who are all looking at the ceiling, chances are, you’re going to look too.


Social proof is the reason why online reviews on Google or Amazon are such a powerful selling tool, and why sites like Yelp play a huge role in deciding where we’re going out to dinner this weekend. In fact, 70% of Americans will trust a review from someone they don’t even know, and 63% of Americans are more likely to purchase something from a website that includes customer reviews.


For attorneys, social proof is packaged in the form of client testimonials and online reviews. Every time a client reviews you on Avvo, Google, Facebook, or your website, they’re adding social proof to your online presence.


Here’s a fact to consider: social proof is proven to be more convincing with pictures and videos. That means we’re more likely to believe something is true if there is an image associated with it.


They say a picture is worth 1,000 words, but what about video? Potential clients want to put a face to a testimonial. It solidifies the truth behind the claim and personalizes their story, so they’re not just reading text on a website.


Testimonial videos can be a powerful strategy to enhance your firm’s social proof online and differentiate your firm from the competition.


At Crisp Video Group, we avoid producing legal videos without testimonials at all costs. We would prefer to let the client tell your story, because it’s more believable and usually more compelling (this ties back into the power of emotional storytelling).


To put this in perspective, check out the video we produced for NTL Attorney Christopher Brough, a Criminal Defense Attorney in Spartanburg, SC. The client testimonial featured in Christopher’s video described Christopher’s courtroom demeanor, in his exact words, by saying this: “The second we stand in that courtroom, it’s like taking your attack dogs and cutting the leash loose. He’s there for you 100%.”


Now, imagine if Christopher had used those words to describe himself – would they have been as believable?




  • Increase perceived brand authority through high-quality video content


You’re probably not the only attorney in your market who will incorporate legal video into their content strategy. But, for better or worse, many attorneys who produce legal videos don’t create or distribute them effectively, which means they won’t see the results that are possible with high-quality legal video.


Many attorneys are under the false assumption that all it takes to see results from legal video is to have the video produced. While that is certainly part of the equation, most of the results you’ll see from your video will come long after you stop filming. Results rely not only on ensuring you’re producing high-quality content, but also distributing that content in the right places.


You’ll notice we mentioned the term ‘high-quality’ three times in this section, and that was intentional.


Google recently rolled out an algorithm update that transforms the way they measure SEO quality content. Whereas before many people may pursue first page rankings through keyword stuffing and ‘link juicing’, today’s SEO algorithm depends largely on the customer experience.


Google is likely to index websites that people spend more time on, and video helps with that factor. But, if you include a low-quality video on your site that isn’t enjoyable to watch, it impacts the time spent on site, which will hurt your SEO rankings.



So what does that have to do with brand authority? More than you’d think.

While it can be hard to quantify perceived brand authority, it’s easy to make the connection between quality content and perceived competence. If you were to visit the site of a new case management software you were hoping to implement, and the product overview video was poorly shot and didn’t provide you with a valuable experience, would you still purchase it?


Now, consider that same experience in a high-stakes situation like searching for the attorney who will be in charge of protecting your constitutional rights.


If you produce a series of high-quality, engaging videos that provide value, answer their questions, and ease their concerns, it will boost your overall brand authority and differentiate your firm from the competition.  It will also give you a nice organic SEO boost, which improves your chances of achieving higher search placement.


Bringing it All Together: Combating the Rise of Commoditization


At the end of the day, the best way to bring in new clients is to introduce them to who you are, not just what you do. If you form your entire content strategy around the services you offer rather than the problems you can help them solve, potential clients will begin to view you as a commodity rather than a person.


Don’t make the mistake of dehumanizing yourself in order to appeal to a broader audience. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable and leveraging legal video to tell your story may cost you a few leads, but the clients you’ll gain from these efforts will be all the more valuable (both literally and figuratively) because they truly want to work with you due to the connection your video helped to establish. In the process, you will put leagues between your firm and your competitors and you will find yourself becoming the obvious choice in your market.


If you want to learn more about how you can leverage legal video to grow your law firm, you can download our free eBook here.


Michael Mogill is the Founder and CEO of Crisp Video Group (, a national legal video marketing company that produces high-quality and engaging legal videos for attorneys all over the country. Crisp Video is consistently recognized for creating engaging legal videos that help attorneys see a 2 to 10 times increase in average case values. By simply bringing in higher-value cases, attorneys who produce videos with Crisp Video see an average return on investment of 300% and routinely double and triple their revenue — sometimes within just 6 months. He has been featured in Forbes, The National Trial Lawyers, Avvo, ABA, PILMMA, The Huffington Post, and The Wall Street Journal.

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Free webinar on client acquisition Wednesday, Dec. 13

The National Trial Lawyers is excited to invite you to register for a FREE legal webinar training hosted by Michael Mogill, CEO of Crisp Video Group, the exclusively endorsed video partner of The National Trial Lawyers.

With 1.3 million attorneys today (the most ever in U.S. history), what separates your firm from your competition?

You know the answer, but do potential clients? If you can’t communicate your clear differentiator, you’re leaving money on the table for competing firms to grab.

In tomorrow’s webinar, you will discover:

  • How to create, differentiate, and communicate your firm’s unique value proposition
  • How to use storytelling to land better cases and increase new client conversions by up to 300%
  • A simple strategy to convert 70% more cases, on average, from the traffic your website already gets
  • How to turn social media into a revenue driver for your practice

The Future of Client Acquisition for Law Firms (Webinar)

Wednesday, December 13 at 1pm EST / 10am PST

Register Now!

See you there!

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Win a new Tesla from Crisp Video at the Trial Lawyers Summit!

How would you like to win a Tesla Model X 100D worth $130,000 from Crisp Video at the 2018 Trial Lawyers Summit? If you’re a Crisp client who is in frequent contact with other (non-competing) attorneys who would benefit from a Crisp Video, you could be the owner of the new Tesla Model X come February. If you haven’t done so already, register now to attend the Trial Lawyers Summit in South Miami Beach, Florida February 4-7, 2018. Crisp Video will be giving away the Tesla Model X on the last day of the Summit, February 7.

Click here for the eligibility rules and regulations and to enter for your chance to win a Tesla at the Trial Lawyers Summit!

Visit Crisp Video

Alan Dershowitz on becoming a trial lawyer

Harvard Law Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz was already a noted trial lawyer when he became the youngest full professor of law at the institution. A noted author who spoke at the 2015 and 2016 Trial Lawyers Summits, Dershowitz also served on the legal “dream team” that represented O.J. Simpson at trial in 1994. Huffpost has an interview with the legal titan.