Taming the Technical Case – C09

Litigation and Advocacy Track

Session C: 2:15 p.m. – 3:45 p.m

Selling any case to a jury can be a challenge. But a case that depends on the application of complicated scientific, economic or technical subjects beyond the experience of most jurors adds another layer of complexity. Too often, technical witnesses put the jury off – or put it to sleep. Properly presented, however, these witnesses can be a lawyer’s best friend, captivating the jury while teaching them about critical subjects in a way that favors the client’s position. In this panel, we will hear from two trial lawyers experienced in complex litigation involving technical subjects, as well as a jury consultant and an experienced expert witness. The topics discussed will include preparing your story, selecting effective witnesses, preparing them to testify persuasively, supporting your client’s story through a well-planned cross-examination of the other side’s technical witnesses and developing winning arguments using the technical testimony you have developed. 

You will learn: 

  • The challenges involved in presenting coherent themes and a persuasive narrative when the case requires the jury to digest technical issues beyond their everyday experience  
  • How to use jury research to identify and refine aspects of a technical argument that are challenging for a jury to understand  
  • How to identify strong technical witnesses 
  • How to prepare and improve weak technical witnesses 
  • How to design and conduct persuasive direct and cross examinations of technical witnesses  
  • How to deliver powerful and comprehensive technical arguments to a jury 

John M. Tanski, Axinn ,Veltrop & Harkrider LLP, Hartford 

Attorney Tanski is a trial lawyer who represents clients in sophisticated business disputes.  He has won favorable results for clients in a variety of industries ranging from manufacturing and insurance to pharmaceuticals and software on claims such as trade secret theft, unfair trade practices, patent infringement and anticompetitive conduct.  Mr. Tanski has been recognized as a New Leader in the Law by the Connecticut Law Tribune, and he has served on the Connecticut State Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights and the Commission on Connecticut’s Leadership in Corporation and Business Law.  He is a graduate of Princeton University and Columbia Law School, where he was a James Kent Scholar and a finalist in both the Jerome Michael Jury Trials Competition and the Harlan Fiske Stone Moot Court Competition.



Kristin Connors, Carmody Torrance Sendak & Hennessey, New Haven

Attorney Connors is an experienced trial lawyer who concentrates her practice in the defense of medical malpractice and product liability cases.  Ms. Connors has successfully defended high exposure medical malpractice claims on behalf of physicians and other license holders, hospitals, long-term rehabilitation hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and home health agencies involving a wide variety of medical specialties.  She has also defeated high exposure product liability claims for national clients in both state and federal courts throughout the United States, and she serves as lead and national counsel for several product lines for a large products manufacturer.  Ms. Connors is a member of the American, Connecticut and Waterbury Bar Associations, and she served on the Statewide Grievance Committee from 2005-2011.  She holds a B.A. from Villanova University and a J.D. from the University of Connecticut School of Law.


Francis H. Morrison, Axinn Veltrop & Harkrider LLP, Hartford 

During his career as a trial lawyer, Fran Morrison’s clients have entrusted him with the trial to verdict and/or judgment of some 70 cases.  Those cases have included defense and prosecution of matters with multi-million and billion-dollar exposure involving critical technological patents, trade secrets and products liability claims.  Mr. Morrison is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, a charter member of the American Board of Trial Advocates in Connecticut and a certified civil trial advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy.  Chambers ranks him in Band 1 for commercial litigation in Connecticut.  Mr. Morrison is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross and Duke University School of Law, where he served as the Note and Comment Editor for the Duke Law Journal.


Rachel York Colangelo, Ph.D., National Managing Director of Jury Consulting, Magna Legal Services, Washington, DC

In her role as the National Managing Director of Jury Consulting for Magna Legal Services, Rachel York Colangelo has provided litigation support for a variety of civil and criminal matters across the country.  She has consulted on numerous multi-million dollar and high profile cases in areas such as commercial litigation, antitrust, securities, intellectual property, accounting fraud, malpractice, and products liability.  Dr. Colangelo is a member of the American Psychology-Law Society, a division of the American Psychological Association, as well as the American Society of Trial Consultants.  She holds a BA in psychology and sociology from the University of Virginia and a doctorate in legal psychology from Florida International University.


CLE Credit: 1.5 hours (Skills)