Is litigation an art or a science?

art: subjects of study primarily concerned with the processes and products of human creativity and social life, such as languages, literature, and history

science: a systematically organized body of knowledge on a particular subject.

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It’s both. Your interaction with the jury, the judge, OC, and witnesses is an art. For instance, knowing which witnesses to push without looking like a jerk to the jury, is an art. The rest is science.

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Someone taught be long ago that being a practicing lawyer is half being a law professor and half knowledge of the lawyer street. In other words, combining technical knowledge with the practicalities in order to effectively solve the client’s problem.

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Both. Drafting and jury practice and oral argument is an art form. Researching etc. is a science.

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I dont know anyone who would say its just one or the other.

There are social and psychological sciences that have scientifically revealed successful persuasion strategies and effective communication techniques, but they only go so far. In theory the human brain is limited and subject to statistically significant predictable behaviors such that you could generate an algorithm to generate perfect results every time (trigger fear here, say X now to create empathy, anchor verdict at Y dollars by saying Z, etc.).

In practice you will never be able to create or fully employ that algorithm, so you have to be creative and leverage your instinct. This is where the "art" comes in, but it doesnt exactly fit the definition you've supplied.

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I agree. The information underlying your position must be collected systematically but presented in your own style so as to persuade.

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It’s both, and more. The science relates to such things as the psychology of persuasion, color theory, aspects of graphic design. The art relates to various theatrical aspects of trial practice (voice modulation, staging trial moments, etc). But there’s a lot more. Mastery of the rules of evidence and procedure. (Quick, what’s special about FRCivP 32a3?). Time and project management. Judgment about when to object, or stop arguing. Expertise in deploying courtroom technology, both new and old. Skill with key techniques such as cross examination. I don’t know that most of those things are either art or science.

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