Ken Levinson Presents on Focus Groups

William Eadie

William Eadie

Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer at Eadie Hill Trial Lawyers
William is a trial attorney in Cleveland, Ohio, where he lives with his wife, Christine, and their two daughters.His practice is devoted to nursing home abuse and medical negligence.
William Eadie

On March 9, Chicago attorney and focus-group impresario Ken Levinson presented to the CATA membership at our periodic luncheon CLE on using focus groups to maximize case value.

As an attorney who regularly uses focus groups, I found Ken’s presentation to be enlightening. Ken obviously knows how to manage a group–including ours!–in a way that opens them up to providing candid feedback.  He gave away valuable tips from his own experience, as well as examples of how they have gone form focus-group gold to trial wins.

Recognized by Super Lawyers as one of the top 100 lawyers in Illinois, Ken is a graduate of Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyers College, and a member of the Trial Lawyers College Alumni Board and The American Trial Lawyers Association. He is the author of the latest edition of Litigating Major Automobile Injury and Death Cases, published by AAJ Press/Thomson Reuters, and has been invited to speak by the American Association for Justice and multiple state bar and trial lawyer associations. In addition to representing clients, Ken is often retained to create focus groups and assist lawyers in the presentation of their case.

Thanks to CATA Secretary Cathy Bolek for putting the presentation together for our members.

Please take a moment to give Ken some feedback, or even ask questions.  I’ll let him know we’re using this post for that purpose so he can respond.


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More EndDD Presentations by CATA

Todd Gurney

Todd Gurney

My practice is narrowly focused on cases of medical negligence and wrongful death. Everyday, I fight for better medical care in our community and across Ohio. I fight against insurance companies who care more about profits than patients. I fight for people who can't fight for themselves. Most of all, I fight for justice.
Todd Gurney

EndDD 2-9-16 A

Ellen Hobbs Hirshman and Susan Petersen, both trustees with The Cleveland Academy of Trial Attorneys (CATA), travelled to Notre Dame Cathedral Latin (NDCL) on Tuesday, February 9, 2016, for two End Distracted Driving (EndDD) presentations. Both the Sophomore and Junior classes were attentive and engaged in many discussions about the dangers of distracted driving. The 365 NDCL students and teachers were impressed with the statistical data and testimonials of families that have suffered a loss because of distracted driving. The EndDD Family Safe Driving Agreement was handed out to all NDCL students to take home and discuss with their families. These NDCL students are “passing it forward” and helping to educate others about how to make smarter and safer choices when driving and being driven in a car. Together, through education, we can make our roads a lot safer.

Margaret Murray Presents to Members on Ohio’s New Subrogation Statute

William Eadie

William Eadie

Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer at Eadie Hill Trial Lawyers
William is a trial attorney in Cleveland, Ohio, where he lives with his wife, Christine, and their two daughters.His practice is devoted to nursing home abuse and medical negligence.
William Eadie

Please join the Cleveland Academy of Trial Lawyers on Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at noon for lunch and a presentation by Margaret Murray on Ohio’s new Subrogation statute.  Download the CATA October 2015 Luncheon Registration Form.

Margaret will be discussing Ohio’s newly enacted Make Whole Law, R.C. 2323.44, which is effective on September 28, 2015.  She will explain the difference between the Common Fund Doctrine and the Make Whole Law, and tell us how the new statute affects our clients and our practice.  As a member of the Ohio State Bar Association 2009 Special Committee on Subrogation and 2010 Subrogation Task Force, and the Ohio Association for Justice Subrogation Task Force in 2014 and Subrogation Committee in 2015, Margaret is well versed in Ohio subrogation law.

Margaret M. Murray has been a partner at Murray & Murray Co., L.P.A. since 1997, having graduated from Case Western Reserve University School of Law in 1996 and from the College of the Holy Cross in 1993.  Margaret is a member of AAJ, OAJ, ABA, OSBA, and the Erie County Bar Association, is currently chair of the Erie-Huron County Joint Grievance Committee, and rejoined the OAJ Board of Trustees this year having previously served from 2004-2010.  She also served on the OSBA Legal Ethics & Professional Conduct Committee from 2009-2012.  Margaret most recently spoke at the OAJ Insurance Law CLEs regarding Professional Rule of Conduct 1.15(d) and (e) and how these rules impact our responsibilities regarding subrogation claims.  Margaret’s work has been recognized by OAJ in 2010 and in 2014 with the Amicus Curiae Award and in 2011 with a Distinguished Service Award.  She is a past president of the Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio and has been an elected member of the State Central Committee for the Ohio Democratic Party since 2006.  She has served as the amicus curiae chair of OAJ for the past six years and also serves as the co-chair of the Advocacy Committee for the Ohio Democratic Party.  Many decisions have been published regarding Margaret’s work including a national federal class action settlement in 2013 and most recently in June of 2015, a decision from the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia reinstating cases involving more than sixty life insurance companies which had been dismissed by the trial court.

I look forward to seeing you on October 14.

Case Law & CATA Social Tonight!

William Eadie

William Eadie

Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer at Eadie Hill Trial Lawyers
William is a trial attorney in Cleveland, Ohio, where he lives with his wife, Christine, and their two daughters.His practice is devoted to nursing home abuse and medical negligence.
William Eadie

Looking forward to our social tonight with the Case Western Reserve University School of Law​’s Mock Trial Team and SBA!  See you from 6-8 PM at Crop Uptown located at 11460 Uptown Ave, Cleveland (University Circle).

Luncheon Seminar Series – Jury Selection: “Cause is Necessary”

Please join us for the next CATA Luncheon Seminar Series on March 12, 2014 at the Ritz-Carlton Riverview Room at 12:00 p.m.  The luncheon will feature Dennis Mulvihill discussing jury selection in a program entitled – “Cause is Necessary.”  This will be our last seminar of the season, so we hope the weather cooperates and everyone can be there.

The registration form for the event is linked below.

Luncheon Seminar Registration Form

Facts Contradict Physician’s View on Medical Malpractice

Please find a link below to a guest column written by Past CATA President Dennis Mulvihill and OAJ Member Meghan Connolly published on the Cleveland Plain Dealer website.

Technology Tips for Attorneys – Winter 2013-2014 Edition

by William B. Eadie and Andrew J. Thompson


iPad/Tablet Privacy Shields

iPads and other tablets are passed the hot-new-thing stage, and have become a part of many lawyers’ daily practice, especially when travelling.  If you use your iPad for depositions, when travelling, or in negotiations, keeping eyes off your tablet might be an important issue.

3M recently launched Easy-On Privacy Filters, removable privacy shields (retailing presently on Amazon for a little under $50).  The filters are removable (and include a carrying folder) for times when you need group collaboration (including the kids watching a movie on the road).  3M claims the product uses bubble-free technology, and is not prone to attract dust, making removal and reapplication easier than stay-on shields.

Don’t need to remove the shield, or don’t have an iPad?  There are cheaper products available, such as ZAGG invisibleSHIELD Privacy Screens, which have iPad and non-iPad tablet compatible options.


Card Munch vs. Business Card Reader

Smartphones can now help manage—or eliminate—dealing with business cards by taking a photo of the card with an app.

CardMunch (, a free LinkedIn app for the iPhone, sends the picture to LinkedIn for processing.  You take a picture with the app and a business card is converted to a contact automatically in your phone.  LinkedIn goes the next step and shows you the LinkedIn profile information and connections you have in common—allowing you to make the connection instantly.  For iPhone users who network with LinkedIn, this takes all the extra steps out of converting an in-person card-exchange to a contact.  You can even hand them the card back.

Business Card Reader ( reads the card data to convert it into a contact.  BCR works on multiple platforms—desktop and mobile—to “readily transfer contact data such as names, phone numbers, e-mail addresses and other key information found on business cards directly to a contact manager, a database or mobile address book, or save and share this information in electronic form.”  Unlike CardMuch, BCR is not free, with current app prices at $4.99 for the basic, and $89.99 for pro.

Appellate Judges Panel

The next CATA Luncheon Seminar Series will be held February 5, 2014 at the Ritz-Carlton (Riverview Room) at 12:00 p.m.  The luncheon will feature a panel of distinguished appellate judges, including Judge Melody Stewart (8th District), Judge Eve Belfance (9th District), and Judge Thomas Wright (11th District).  The panel will discuss How to Maximize Your Effectiveness on Appeal.  The panel will be moderated by Mary Jane Trapp, Esq.

Click on the link below to download a your registration for this event.  We hope to see you there!

Luncheon Seminar Registration Form

Annual Litigation Institute set for May 30, 2014

CATA is pleased to announce that the Annual Litigation Institute will take place on Friday, May 30, 2014 at the Ritz-Carlton in Cleveland.  This year’s seminar will be a full day event titled Story, Groups and Juries: Exploring New (and scary) Frontiers in the Courtroom.  Our guest speakers will be Carl Bettinger and Fredilyn Sison.  Learn about the presenters and see the agenda for the meeting below.

This is an event you will not want to miss!  Registration materials will be available soon.  Please mark your calendars.

Cleveland Academy of Trial Attorneys

May 30, 2014

Story, Groups and Juries: Exploring New (and scary) Frontiers in the Courtroom

  We’ve all heard the importance of “telling a story”, but  when was the last time anyone helped teach you how?

This program will teach trial attorneys classic story structure and group formation as it relates to trial work, particularly in voir dire, opening and closing. It will be a working, on-your-feet program, utilizing techniques from improvisational acting, classic story telling and psychodrama. During the workshop you will:

*Learn the basic skeleton of the herocentric story

*Explore how the different herocentric roles (hero, villain, victim, mentor, trickster) apply to a trial

*Be introduced to some improv basics – the concept of “Yes, and…”

*Explore, in action, the story spine.

*Explore, in action, how to get a witness off the stand and set a scene in the courtroom

*Be introduced, through the action method, to some new frontiers in voir dire: How to really see who is in front of you; Can you “yes, and…” anything?



Carl Bettinger of Shapiro Bettinger Chase LLP in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has litigated hundreds of personal injury, medical malpractice and nursing home neglect claims.  Author of Twelve Heroes, One Voice: Guiding Jurors to Courageous Verdicts (Trial Guides 2011), he has some of the largest personal injury verdicts in New Mexico, first for $54 million in a 2007 trial involving a ManorCare nursing home and then for $54.1 million in a 2009 trial involving a ResCare group home. He practices and consults in New Mexico and nationally. He focuses on bringing trials alive, utilizing a variety of non-conventional approaches, including those from  improvisational acting, storytelling and psychodrama. In a recent trial, he sang part of his closing. Before attending University of New Mexico Law School, Carl went to medical school at Boston University School of Medicine and then completed an internal medicine residency at The University of New Mexico. In his spare time he goes fishing.

Fredilyn Sison: Fredi is an honors grad of Cornell University and New York University School of Law.  Prior to joining the Federal Defenders of Western North Carolina in the Asheville branch office, she served as an Assistant Federal Defender in the Districts of Nebraska, Nevada and Idaho.  In 2005, she was visiting counsel at the Defender Training Branch and at the U.S. Sentencing Commission in Washington, D.C.  She has served on the faculty for the Federal Trial Skills Academy, the Sentencing Advocacy Workshop, 3Sisters Programs, National Advanced Defenders Program, Non-Capital Mitigation Seminar and Orientation Seminar for Federal Defenders.  Fredi co-authored Trial in Action: The Persuasive Power of Psychodrama, has written a chapter on child pornography in Practical Guide for Defending a Federal Case and on Voir Dire in the 3rd edition of Cultural Issues in Criminal Defense, co-wrote and edited chapters on Jury Selection and Foreign Law in Defending a Federal Criminal Case and has published articles on jury selection, cross examination and the effects of incarceration on families in The Champion and The Warrior.  She has been certified as a practitioner in psychodrama (“CP”), which employs guided dramatic action to examine problems and issues raised by individuals and groups.  Her interests include reading, hiking, piano, Improv and dancing.


Course Schedule

8:00 am: Registration

8:30-9:30: Herocentric story structure: The key to trial is story, but in order to understand how to tell a client’s story, the lawyer must first understand the component parts to classic herocentric story structure, as well as the character archetypes in such stories. This part of the course will focus on teaching the participants the nature of three act story structure (ordinary world, new world, climax and return), how the various parts of trial fit within that structure, how to paint the various characters in the case so that the jury will understand them to be Villain, Victim, Mentor or Hero, which, ultimately, is the role we want the jurors to play.

9:30-10:45: Improv exercises to warm up voice and body: As lawyers, our courtroom tools are our voice and our bodies. Of the five ways of communicating (spacework (i.e., engaging in a particular physical activity); movement; emotion; character; and words), lawyers tend to ignore all but words. These exercises will help the participants understand the power of non-verbal communication.

10:45-11:00: Break

11:00-12:00: Story telling exercises in action: This part of the course is designed to show the participants how to discover the stories in their cases through dramatic reenactment techniques that bring the stories alive, thereby not only discovering the stories, but providing the participants with material that can be shown to the jury, as opposed to just told.

12:00-1:00:  Lunch

1:00-2:30: New approaches to voir dire: The average voir dire often  produces nothing other than the resentment of potential jurors who see the attorney before them as trying to manipulate them.  This part of the course will explore techniques from improvisational acting and psychodrama that will provide the participants with new ways to connect with the jurors and to form a group.

2:30-2:45:  Break

2:45-5:00: Cont: New approaches to voir dire: A story which is told is nowhere near as compelling as one that is shown; that is why as kids we did “show and tell”, as opposed to “tell and tell”.  This part of the course will teach the participants the basics of setting dramatic scenes in the courtroom, weaving the same into their Openings and  Closings.

CATA Luncheon View From The Bench

William Eadie

William Eadie

Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer at Eadie Hill Trial Lawyers
William is a trial attorney in Cleveland, Ohio, where he lives with his wife, Christine, and their two daughters.His practice is devoted to nursing home abuse and medical negligence.
William Eadie
Judicial Panel at 2013-12-11 CATA Luncheon featuring Michael P. Donnelly, Joan C. Synenberg, and David T. Matia, Jr.

Judges Joan C. Synenberg, David T. Matia, Jr., and Michael P. Donnelly, participating in CATA’s CLE Luncheon Series with a View from the Bench.

CATA was pleased to welcome Judges Michael Donnelly, Joan Synenberg, and David Matia of the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas to speak at CATA’s December Luncheon CLE seminar.  The judges gave a view from the bench on trial techniques, offering insights for the new and experienced attorneys alike.

Any feedback on their comments, or questions?  Please comment below.

A few images from the event below.  For more, check out the CATA Facebook page.