With over four decades in the courtroom, St. Louis plaintiff Attorney Alvin Wolff has seen it all, and he took notes. Like “A client who has been through several lawyers is probably a client you wish you didn’t have.” And “If you act like you know what you are doing, the Court will probably let you get away with it.”  This entertaining segment featuring Alvin’s first 20 tips is filled with real-life anecdotes, wisdom and lessons learned in the school of hard knocks will benefit attorneys of all ages.

“What matters most to us is effecting change.” That’s the philosophy of trial attorney Charla Aldous and her firm Aldous \ Walker. Ranked as one of the top attorneys in America for over two decades, Charla Aldous is a trailblazer who also founded Athea Trial Attorneys, an innovative all-female virtual law firm. Join the spirited and inspiring conversation with guest host Amy Gunn of the Simon Law Firm and Erich Vieth as Charla reveals how she affects change in and out of the courtroom with kindness, commitment, and a passion for justice.

As attorneys, it’s our job to persuade. Effective arguments are built upon logic, emotion, and trust, and you won’t win the jury without all three. But how do you build trust? Where should logic end and emotion begin? And how does case selection fit in? Join John and Erich for an insightful intellectual discussion about how your passion is the driving force behind every persuasive argument.

We spend a lot of time focused on how we practice law, but when do we take the time to wonder why? In his new book, The Way of the Trial Lawyer-Beyond Technique, best-selling author Rick Friedman examines the journey to find justice, the balance between intellect and heart, and how recognizing moral truth makes all the difference. Take the time to realign your internal compass with this essential episode.

Inspiration drives positive action, and the best attorneys are driven to succeed. Perseverance and determination is reflected in how we handle everyday challenges, make first impressions, and create new connections. John and Erich discuss how they rely upon inspiration in the courtroom and in everyday life and share their favorite words to live by. Turns out the biggest truths are pretty simple.

Wisdom from parents, coaches and co-workers may have built your ethical foundation, but where do you turn now to keep motivated? John and Erich point out the inspirational insights that are all around us, from strangers in the courtroom to our familiar yet sometimes forgotten oath. Reconnect with a refreshing and insightful discussion that will get you grounded again.

The Honorable Lisa VanAmburg is a founding member of the Women Lawyers Association and a retired judge, having served at both the trial court and appellate court levels.  A legal pioneer in Missouri, she discusses the challenges and opportunities for women trial attorneys handling civil rights cases beginning in the mid-1970s. She also offers tips for trial attorneys: what judges like and don't like to see in court.

Do you measure your success with dollars and wins? Guest host Amy Gunn, who has worked with John at The Simon Law Firm for over two decades, talks with John about how the power of a positive upbringing, the wisdom of hard work and the joy of a generous heart helped him become one of the top attorneys in America and a very happy and successful family man and friend.

Some of the toughest battles are not in court. Substance abuse, depression and anxiety impact many attorneys. Take a few minutes for positive self-care with our guests Anne Chambers and Roger Whittler of the Missouri Lawyers Assistance Program (MOLAP). And if you want to talk, call MOLAP anytime at 1-800-688-7859 for free and confidential support services available to any Missouri attorney.

Have you ever won a $6.7 billion dollar settlement? Missouri plaintiff attorney Tom Strong did when he represented the State of Missouri in the landmark case against the tobacco industry. The ruling also provided equitable relief mandates that still save lives today. Tom discusses some of the pitfalls in the case and reveals his down-home way to earn the jury’s trust in part two of our conversation with Tom Strong.

Tom Strong is a legendary Missouri lawyer who began his career in 1957 and pioneered innovative courtroom techniques like accident reconstruction. He is recognized as one of the most successful, ethical and influential attorneys in America. He’s also well known as an engaging storyteller and he shares some of his favorites from his recent book, Strong Advocate, which he wrote at age 80.  Tune in and be inspired by a conversation with Tom Strong.

June 9, 2021

EP213 - Losing Sucks

We all hate to lose. But nobody wins every time. How you handle losing a case determines your real victory or loss, because the verdict isn’t the only thing on the line. If you avoid tough cases just because you might not win, you are doing a disservice to your client and yourself. Join John and Erich in this candid discussion on how to handle loss with less pain and more gain.

If it’s a cause worth fighting for, Charla Aldous is ready to fight.  Her authentic, no-nonsense strategy for case framing continues to convince juries, even in cases no one expects her firm to win. Tune in to hear the creative narratives from some of her biggest cases, and why taking a case she knows she won’t win has provided some of the most satisfying results in her prestigious career.

Was it just a bad day in court, or do you really want to get out of law for good? How do you know if you just need balance or if you’re totally burned out? John and Erich talk with professional consultants at Missouri Lawyers’ Assistance Program (MOLAP) about evaluating your options, redirecting your career, and giving yourself permission to re-invent your life. The podcast is free, and so are the MOLAP counseling services. Take advantage of both.

You’ve got one shot to ask for damages that must last your client for the rest of their life. Is your strategy strong enough to get multi-million-dollar awards for your client? Boost your confidence in the courtroom.

How do you put a price on a catastrophic injury or a wrongful death? Deciding damages is one of the most difficult tasks for the jury.  Here is how to provide jurors with the information they need to award the fair and just compensation your client deserves by following John Simon’s winning strategy.

You invested years of your life and plenty of cash in this career, but you just don’t love the law anymore. What the heck do you do now? John and Erich introduce you to two attorneys who left their successful practices to pursue new careers and never looked back.  Could you do it too? This podcast could be the nudge you need to change your life.

When your doctor turns you into an opioid addict, you turn to a lawyer. Koon v Walden was one of the first cases in America to sue a physician for overprescribing opioids to a patient.  Personal injury attorney Tim Cronin fought for the plaintiff and shares the inside story behind this landmark case and the current landscape of opioid litigation.

Where the %^&* is that document?! Wrangling papers and trying to recall strategic insights are top time wasters, but they don’t have to be. John Simon offers his wisdom on labeling and categorizing documents and ideas, task management, depo memos and keeping the value of the case in mind. John’s simplest time-saving tip may be the most important…don’t take a bad case.

A waste of time is the most extravagant of expenses. Are you utilizing all your resources efficiently to focus, delegate and eliminate distractions?  In this timely skill-reset session, John Simon and Erich Vieth reinforce the need to prioritize time management and offer insights to help you boost creativity and productivity.

Searching for information in a corporate case can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. Corporate rep deposition rules should be your spotlight. John Simon and Erich Vieth highlight the unique powers of corporate rep depo rules and explain how to get around the most common depo roadblocks opposing counsel may put in your path.

John Simon believes the corporate representative deposition rules are some of the most powerful tools in your toolbox. Are you leveraging them to your best advantage? Join John and Erich Vieth as they discuss how to use the rules to find the right person to depose, track down the facts in a corporate information maze and focus on the follow up.

Are you stuck in a cross-examination rut? John and Erich reconsider old-school techniques with attorney and author Patrick Malone based on insights from Patrick’s new book, The Fearless Cross-Examiner. Learn thought-provoking new techniques to discredit dishonest witnesses, counter common issues and reduce tensions in the courtroom, and attack your next cross-examination with sharper skills and a new attitude. 

Ready to take your cross-examination skills to the next level? Attorney and author Patrick Malone challenges tired and restrictive cross-examination practices and offers fresh insights on how, when, and where to research witnesses, traps to catch the cherry-pickers and Patrick’s “no hands” approach. Join John and Erich in a spirited discussion about Patrick’s new book, The Fearless Cross-Examiner, and learn at least one tip that will improve your approach in the courtroom.  www.patrickmalonelaw.com 

October 28, 2020

EP134 - Settlements Part Two

Settlement negotiations are not always successful. But you will always learn something about the case or the opposition that may prove helpful later. What to share during settlement, and what to withhold, can impact the outcome.  John and Erich share settlement strategies in Part Two of our focus on settlements. 

John and Erich will take a short break to prepare episodes for season two.  Send topics that you would like them to discuss when we resume to: comments@thejuryisout.law


October 21, 2020

EP133 - Settlements Part One

Are you settling your good cases and trying your bad ones? Is sending a demand letter early in the case effective? John and Erich share solid tips on when to start settlement talks, how to negotiate from a position of strength and when to walk away.

Rebuilt wrecks. Odometer rollbacks. Car financing fraud. How can these small claims add up to significant judgements? Missouri consumer fraud expert Bernard Brown shares his extensive experience in the auto fraud field and offers car buying tips every consumer should know to protect themselves from unscrupulous auto dealers and finance firms.


Bernard Brown studied as an undergraduate at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland (a “Great Books” school), before obtaining his undergraduate degree from the University of Toronto (in Toronto, Ontario) and his law degree from the University of Kansas.  He has been in private practice in Kansas City since 1980.  Between 1984 and 1996 his office was focused on representing victims of car fraud -- such as the fraudulent sale of rebuilt wrecks and cars with odometer rollbacks.  More recently he also has worked on class actions relating to vehicle sales and financing, on mortgage fraud cases (in conjunction with Legal Aid in Kansas City), and on “no title” car cases against finance companies.  His cases have resulted in many notable jury verdicts and settlements, and a sizable number of his cases have resulted in published court decisions of significance in these areas of the law.

Considering a consumer fraud case such as odometer rollback or mortgage fraud? Missouri consumer fraud expert Bernard Brown offers key insights to Missouri’s Merchandising Practice Act and tips on resources and rulings that can help improve your consumer fraud case.


Bernard Brown studied as an undergraduate at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland (a “Great Books” school), before obtaining his undergraduate degree from the University of Toronto (in Toronto, Ontario) and his law degree from the University of Kansas.  He has been in private practice in Kansas City since 1980.  Between 1984 and 1996 his office was focused on representing victims of car fraud -- such as the fraudulent sale of rebuilt wrecks and cars with odometer rollbacks.  More recently he also has worked on class actions relating to vehicle sales and financing, on mortgage fraud cases (in conjunction with Legal Aid in Kansas City), and on “no title” car cases against finance companies.  His cases have resulted in many notable jury verdicts and settlements, and a sizable number of his cases have resulted in published court decisions of significance in these areas of the law.

COVID has changed the way every attorney works. Trial and appellate attorney, arbitrator and professor Ron Norwood joins John and Erich for a positive discussion on how firms of all sizes have adapted and often improved their practices under pandemic restrictions.  Tune in and share some virtual camaraderie as we continue to record from home offices.  

Ronald A. Norwood, a native of Chicago, and 1986 MU Law graduate, joined Lewis Rice in 1988 after serving as a law clerk for U.S. District Court Judge Scott O. Wright in Kansas City from 1986 to 1988.  He was named an equity member of Lewis Rice in 1997.

Throughout his legal career, Ron has acted as a trial attorney and appellate attorney in state and federal litigation matters throughout the United States, with primary concentrations in Missouri and Illinois. His wide-ranging practice includes representing national and regional banks, mortgage companies, and other financial institutions; health insurers, health maintenance organizations, and health care providers in health care litigation disputes; and manufacturers in product liability litigation, consumer fraud claims, and disputes arising under the Uniform Commercial Code. He has also served as counsel to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and the St. Louis Career Education District, and currently serves as trial counsel for the St. Louis Public Schools District.

September 23, 2020

EP129 - Focus Groups Part Two

Focus groups are powerful legal tools, but they should be used strategically. John and Erich discuss how and when to do a focus group, suggest ways to use the data for trial and negotiation, and point out pitfalls to avoid. 

Why guess how a jury might respond to your case when you can actually test your position before trial? John and Erich examine the value and structure of online and in-person focus groups and illustrate how focus group insights can strengthen your case from voir dire to damages.

September 9, 2020

EP127 - Voir Dire Legal Issues

What are the courtroom standards for voir dire in Missouri law? John and Erich discuss current interpretations of the legal statues based on their experience in the courtroom.

So you’ve identified a potential juror you don’t want deciding your case. How can you effectively remove them? John and Erich share thoughts on how to expose bias and get jurors off for cause.

What is the scope of voir dire? Are there topics you can’t bring up, even though they may be critical to your case? John and Erich discuss what you should and should not explore in voir dire.

So many potential jurors, so little time! Knowing the right questions to ask to during voir dire, and what to listen for in the answers, can improve your odds of seating a jury that will fairly evaluate your case.

August 12, 2020

EP123 - Voir Dire Intro

Selecting impartial jurors to decide your case is critical. But how can you tell who in the pool is impartial? John and Erich share voir dire tactics to help you uncover hidden bias or prejudice that could derail your case in deliberation.

Medical Malpractice Attorney Amy Gunn hates the term “work-life balance.” But her tips on setting workable priorities for career, family and personal goals can help any busy attorney find more “balance” as they pursue a busy, goal-oriented life.

How can you be more persuasive with your clients, co-workers and in the courtroom? Hon. Mike Wolff, retired Chief Justice of the Missouri Supreme Court and former Dean of the Saint Louis University School of Law, joins John and Erich to focus on the powers of persuasion.  

Patents, trademarks and copyrights all apply to artistic creations such as music, art, written work and inventions, but how?  Intellectual property expert Yvette Liebesman explains the complex legal nuances of artistic rights protection.

Your experts are the foundation of your case. Preparing them properly helps ensure your key points are brought out in depo. Erica Slater of the Simon Law Firm joins John and Erich to discuss the challenges of selecting and preparing your expert for deposition.

John Simon and Erich Vieth are again joined by John Campbell to discuss Campbell's research on juror attitudes in the age of COVID-19.  How nervous are people about showing up to serve in person as jurors? Will their attitudes toward wearing masks affect their willingness to serve?   Have their attitudes about doctors changed to the extent that it would affect outcome on medical malpractice cases?  Campbell has surveyed hundreds of potential jurors on these issues.   Bonus issue: Should we use this pause in jury trials as an opportunity to re-conceptualize new ways to try jury cases in order to better address juror bias?



To what extent are people willing to return to court to serve as jurors during the pandemic? John Simon and Erich Vieth discuss this topic with attorney and researcher John Campbell, who has conducted focus groups involving 1,500 jurors. Many, but not all, people are apprehensive about returning to jury service. This podcast explores juror attitudes regarding jury service, juror safety, and the extent to which a reboot of COVID-19 jury service might skew trial outcomes.

John Campbell, JD is trial and appellate lawyer turned law professor turned jury researcher.


Downloading a photo. Playing a cover at the coffee house. Your firm’s website.  Who owns what, and when can you use someone else’s work? Intellectual property expert Yvette Liebesman discusses the legal ramifications of IP that surround us every day.

Your written discovery request is the blueprint for what you need to prove in your case. But chances are, you won’t receive all that information without a fight.  John and Erich share tips on addressing objections, drafting interrogatories and successfully navigating the discovery process.

June 10, 2020

EP114 – Case Selection

It sounds like a good case, but are you willing to bet your firm on it? John and Erich discuss case selection and highlight potential problems that are best to avoid early.

Lawyers may get a bad reputation, but where would we be without them? John and Erich review the many ways attorneys protect our rights, deter bad behavior and uphold the ethics of democracy.

Hon. Glenn Norton returns to discuss appellate practice. Speaking from his experience on the Missouri Court of Appeals and as a trial court judge, Judge Norton discusses appellate strategies that work and shares insights into what can send your appeal down the wrong path.  

It’s time for your client to tell their story to the jury, but will it be communicated in the most persuasive way possible?  John and Erich offer tips on helping your client project the best version of themselves in the courtroom and how to prepare them for testimony and cross examination. 

Your client’s deposition will make or break your case. John and Erich discuss strategies to prepare your client for depo and talk about the role you should play as their counselor during this important and stressful phase.

The opening statement is your introduction to the jury. John presents twelve specific tips for creating strong Opening Statement that can help your next case start off with a solid first impression.

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