A National Partnership Working for Fair and Impartial Courts
Contact Us Home July 21, 2018
"Essential to public confidence in the judiciary is the assurance that justice is not for sale and that legal disputes will be resolved by fair and impartial judicial officers."
Committee for Economic Development, in a U.S. Supreme Court brief signed by Wal-Mart, Pepsico, Intel and Lockheed Martin

Messaging Basics

For many judges and lawyers, speaking to the public about courts can differ significantly from their daily professional communications.

Be open and respectful. While Americans hold courts in higher regard than other government  branches, most have little daily contact with judges, or detailed thoughts about the law. Speaking in plain English, and in an open, approachable manner, can make a powerful and positive impression. Learn More.

Involve the Audience. Research shows that adult audiences learn more effectively when they are active participants, not passive listeners. Whether a program uses interactive tools, such as flashcards, or a PowerPoint, it is important to ask and invite audience questions. Learn More.

Get training and a script. Advance training helps make the presentation smoother and prepares speakers for the unexpected. Our Courts Colorado and Florida Benchmarks both can provide program scripts and training tools.

Have a game plan for tricky questions. The American Bar Association's Least Understood Branch recommends a technique called "bridging," to gently pivot from difficult questions back to a presentation's central themes. Learn More.

Stick to core messages. Justice at Stake's messaging guide, "Speak to American Values," encourages speakers to use broad, values-laden themes, such as "fair and impartial courts," and "protecting constitutional liberties," while avoiding detailed discussions of cases or criticisms. Learn More.

Get feedback. The Judicial Outreach Resource Network is developing a short, universal feedback form for speaker presentations. In the absence of a written form, speakers can still benefit from asking audience members what parts of a presentation were most helpful.

The positions and policies of Justice at Stake publications and campaign partners are their own, and do not necessarily reflect those of other campaign partners or board members.
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