John Cuttino Interviewed by National Public Radio

John Cuttino, president of DRI, a national association of defense attorneys, and a shareholder at the law firm of Gallivan, White & Boyd, classroom education has its limits. “In my 30 years of experience, no trial has gone according to script,” he said. Birds have flown through the courtroom, lightening has struck. “It’s a theater,” he said. “Nothing is a substitute for the real event.” It’s not just enough to know the law. Becoming a good trial lawyer, notes Cuttino, requires real life experience. “It is a combination of being a little bit of an actor, being a little bit of a minister, being a little bit of an arbitrator and being a little bit of a sales person. There are just a lot of features that go into convincing a number of people that your version of the facts and your client’s position is the one that they should endorse and the one that they should accept as the truth,” he said. When lawyers don’t know how to stand up in front of juries, notes Cuttino, they become less likely to recommend a jury trial to their clients — even if it’s the best option. And that reluctance to have a jury trial can have repercussions far beyond the courtroom.