September 5th, 2012

Bill Clinton as Trial Lawyer

I’m sitting here watching Pres. Bill Clinton speak at the Democratic Convention and one thing leaps out at me: he would be a masterful trial lawyer.

Why? Because he doesn’t just stand there and make assertions. Rather, he makes his assertions and then backs them up with facts. If you have the burden of proof, that is what you must do. I saw him speak once five years ago, and it was just the same. Everything backed by facts.

Most politicians, of course, don’t have that kind of mastery of facts. Or lack the confidence to use them. Or don’t trust the intelligence of their audience.

But Clinton does. Time and again returning to the theme of ‘Don’t take my word for it, this is what the actual facts are.’

If you want to convince people of something, you have to be prepared with your material and lay bare the facts, pure and simple. And no one does it better than Clinton.

Update: I’m obviously not the only one to come to this conclusion. Fox analyst Brit Hume said after the speech:

“I’ve always said if I were ever in trouble and if I were guilty, especially if I were guilty, I would want Bill Clinton there to defend me. Nobody does it better.”

Hat tip on the back-handed compliment from Hume to Kashmir Hill.


May 10th, 2007

My Dinner With Bill Clinton

I had dinner with Bill Clinton last night. As well as New York Chief Judge Judith Kaye, most of the Court of Appeals, and dozens of appellate and trial court judges from around the state. And about 1,400 members of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association.

Clinton is amazing, pure and simple. He started with the need for decent justice systems so that the poor, the unseen and the dispossessed had a place to turn. He continued on for 45 minutes in wide ranging comments from the attorney general scandal to the extraordinary wastes of money in our health care system, to the benefits of foreign aid (peace is cheaper than war), Darfur, North Korea, Iran, drugs and poverty. He spoke without notes, rattling off facts and figures on one issue after another as if they were a part of his being, seeming to reserve most of his passion for the many problems of Africa.

He’s the only post WWII president to leave office with higher polls than when he was elected. (via Volokh). There’s a good reason.