Masters of Advocacy Seminar in Orlando

Written by Mark O'Mara on . Posted in Education

I’ve teamed up with legal training superstar Adriana Linares to launch the Masters of Advocacy program. I founded the program to create a forum where well known attorneys, veteran trial lawyers, young lawyers and law students can share ideas about the pursuit of justice and the art of trying cases. On July 27, we held our first seminar: Dynamic Voir Dire and Jury Investigations. We had a great participation, including many assistant public defenders from the 7th and 18th circuits.

We’re currently building our fall schedule, and we may have an event near you soon.

Find out more about the program at>>

Terry Jackson Friend of the Constitution Award

Written by Mark O'Mara on . Posted in Education

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Terry Jackson was a Savannah criminal defense lawyer known for his dedication to both his clients and his profession. He lived his life fighting for the idea that every citizen accused should be entitled to a vigorous and competent defense. He was also a true believer in the Constitution -- that the spirit of that document was to protect the rights of individuals against undue government intrusion. Terry left us in 2012, but only after being the first recipient of the Terry Jackson Friend of the Constitution Award. The award recognizes those who give a lifetime of service to their profession and to their clients: those who take on and vigorously defend those cases that are difficult and unpopular.

I was both surprised and honored to be contacted by Sam Dennis, the President of the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, who informed me that the Board of Directors agreed that I would be the 2015 recipient. I’m privileged to be able to follow in Terry Jackson’s footsteps and also those of Doug Peters, the 2013 recipient, and Dwight Thomas, the 2014 award winner. I will cherish the honor, and do my best to be true to the award and to Terry’s legacy.

University Legal Services Programs

Written by Mark O'Mara on . Posted in Education

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I had an opportunity over the weekend to, in effect, go back home. That is -- I gave a talk to a group of about 200 lawyers who run legal services programs at the university level. I say “go back home” because when I was involved in student government at UCF, I started the legal services program there, and I actually hired the woman who is retiring from that position this year.

Dynamic Voir Dire Presentation at National Trial Lawyers Summit

Written by Mark O'Mara on . Posted in Education

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The National Trial Lawyers association has drawn together attorneys from across the country of the most outstanding caliber. Traditionally, NTL had been an association for civil trial lawyers, but recently they recognized that criminal defense attorneys share many things in common with civil lawyers -- perhaps most notably, a passion for trial. Our NTL ranks include 5000 civil lawyers and 5000 criminal lawyers.

Our program this year featured a mix of civil and criminal defense lawyers speaking about the different aspects of trial. Distinguished civil trial lawyer Howard Nations gave an amazing presentation about the psychology of jury selection, and I spoke about the concept of “Dynamic Voir Dire,” a process where every jury question serves multiple purposes: to reveal biases, to foster connections between potential jurors, and to build a rapport with the venire, and to introduce the critical themes of the case. Willy Gary gave an amazing presentation on winning big with great closings, and Chris Searcy blessed us with a moving, impassioned closing argument.

Social Media Jury Investigations Weed Out Stealth Jurors

Written by Mark O'Mara on . Posted in Education

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The time spent waiting for a jury to render a verdict is, perhaps, the most excruciating time for any trial lawyer. There is doubt. There is second-guessing. There is a wish that the team could put in some extra effort to affect the outcome. A witness that could have been called; a question asked better; an exhibit used differently; an argument made more convincingly.

One time to put in that “extra effort” is during jury selection — by conducting social media jury investigations.

In April, the American Bar Association issued Formal Opinion 466 in which they found that investigating potential jurors via social media is ethical, provided lawyers and their teams do not connect with potential jurors in the process.

We think social media jury investigations — when performed properly — are not just ethical, they a critical part of a trial lawyer’s responsibility as a zealous advocate.