edwards’s tactical expertise

Reading the article below got me to thinking about John Edwards's somewhat disappointing speech at the Democratic Convention last week. It wasn't a bad speech, by any means, but not the one I expected from a winning trial lawyer. But it's been slowly dawning on me why, and the article linked below pretty much clinched it for me. I think Edwards toned down because he didn't want to clearly outclass John Kerry (in the speech making realm, I mean) at the convention. And it makes sense. But read it for yourself ... it's on Law.com which, I believe, is free.

A Rise Fueled by Risk and Rewards
John Edwards' unorthodox tactics -- in law and politics

Tom Schoenberg, Legal Times. 8-4-2004

John Edwards' first witness was one of the defendants -- a registered nurse who was in the delivery room when a brain-damaged child was born.

Calling the defendant to the stand as a witness for the plaintiff was a huge risk. If Edwards was unable to get the woman to recount the series of errors alleged in his opening statement, he essentially would be doing the defense team's work for them.

The gamble worked: The nurse confirmed nearly all the mistakes alleged against the hospital staff in the case. Three weeks later, Edwards and the defendants negotiated a confidential settlement before the jury returned a verdict.
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