Winning Every Time: How to Use the Skills of a Lawyer in the Trials of Your Life


Whether you’re hoping to obtain a raise from your boss, convince an insurance claim representative to reimburse your medical treatment, or persuade your spouse into spending less time watching TV and more time with you, Winning Every Time will be your guide for truly practical and helpful advice about how to make that case effectively—and win it hands down. Too often we argue conclusions without the benefit of a premise, react from anger instead of presenting hard facts, feel defensive when sensing resistance, or...

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Winning Every Time: How to Use the Skills of a Lawyer in the Trials of Your Life

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Whether you’re hoping to obtain a raise from your boss, convince an insurance claim representative to reimburse your medical treatment, or persuade your spouse into spending less time watching TV and more time with you, Winning Every Time will be your guide for truly practical and helpful advice about how to make that case effectively—and win it hands down. Too often we argue conclusions without the benefit of a premise, react from anger instead of presenting hard facts, feel defensive when sensing resistance, or fail to make calm, irrefutable counterarguments. In this dynamic, groundbreaking book, Lis Wiehl shows how to apply the skills, smarts, and strategies of a lawyer and stay in command whenever life makes you feel as though you are on trial.

Writing in an engaging, accessible style, Wiehl teaches you how to become your own best advocate, so you can plead your case with precision—and win the hearts (and change the minds) of even the most recalcitrant “juror.” You’ll learn the eight easy-to-follow rules of persuasion to winning a case:

Know What You Want: The Theory of the Case—outline your premise clearly and establish your objective accordingly
Choose and Cultivate Your Audience: Voir Dire— bring your case to the person who “calls the shots” and know the perfect time and place to do so
Marshal Your Evidence: Discovery—assemble all the facts that support your cause, even information that may challenge your objective
Advocate with Confidence: Making the Case—present your opening argument and offer your evidence calmly and methodically
Counter the Claims: Cross-examination—challenge your opponent’s allegations consistently, but gently, through a series of “yes or no” questions
Stay True to Your Case: Avoid the Seven Deadly Spins—keep your argument authentic by avoiding false inferences, hearsay, and subjectivity
Advocate with Heart: Let Me Tell You a Story—make your case personal with a special story that will convey your message in a memorable way
Sum It Up: The Closing Argument—deliver a fervent and succinct summation of your theory and evidence . . . and close the deal

Along with practical advice on how to state your case effectively and come out on top, this remarkable book features incisive stories from real people who have transformed their lives through advocacy. With amazing, result-oriented strategies, Winning Every Times will help you stay in command whenever life makes you feel as though you are on trial.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This book will jump start your life immediately!”

“This practical and very entertaining book isn’t really about law at all, but about how to even the playing field—about how everyone else can use legal thinking to have that edge in life.”
—DAN ABRAMS, chief legal correspondent for NBC

“With humor and insight, Wiehl effectively translates the best talents of a trial lawyer into tools anyone can use. Win—at work, at home, and, ultimately, in life itself.”
—CATHERINE CRIER, Court TV anchor, former judge and author of The Case Against Lawyers

“Finally—there is something Conservatives and Liberals can agree on! Lis Wiehl’s book will make you a winner!”
—SEAN HANNITY, Fox News Channel anchor, Hannity & Colmes

“Don’t give this book to your friends, colleagues, [or] loved ones. If you do, then they’ll know the special techniques necessary to continually win arguments and convince you they’re right.”
—ALAN COLMES, Fox News Channel anchor, Hannity & Colmes

“This is a terrific, useful, and usable guide to help us find our way around the roadblocks in life.”
—GERALDO RIVERA, Fox News Channel anchor,
At Large with Geraldo Rivera

“I can’t believe I wasted all that money on law school. For twenty-five bucks, Lis Wiehl taught me all I need to know and more!”
—MICKEY SHERMAN, CBS News legal analyst and criminal-defense attorney

“From my heart and head I love this book. It’s fun, practical, and very real. With intelligence and humor, Lis Wiehl shows us how everyone can tackle life’s challenges.
—RIKKI KLIEMAN, legal analyst for Today, NBC-TV

“Lis Wiehl has done a terrific job of applying the best of legal professionalism to everyone’s life. She tells about individuals with real problems, and then shows you how to solve your problems with a lawyer’s techniques.”
—ANTHONY LEWIS, New York Times columnist and Pultizer Prize–winning author

Publishers Weekly
In this very engrossing spin on a self-help tract, Wiehl, legal analyst for Fox News and cohost of a daily radio show (The Radio Factor), explains how to make use of lawyerly thinking in everyday life. Drawing on years of trial experience, she provides the means for prevailing in such situations as getting a raise, communicating better with your partner or becoming a more effective parent. Dividing case methodology into eight sections ("The Theory of the Case"; "Discovery"; "The Closing Argument"; etc.), Wiehl makes legal theory spring to life with well-written anecdotes from her professional courtroom and personal lives, along with comments on high profile trials, including O.J. Simpson's. The lesson from that trial, Wiehl argues, is that one must present a story of the case that is based on fact and reasoning, rather than appearing pushy and aggressive to a jury. And in an example of sticking to the "theory" of one's case, Wiehl details how a frustrated father got his son to complete his nightly homework by keeping his emotions under control and maintaining control of the discussion a powerful theory indeed. 6-city author tour. Agent, Todd Shuster of Zachary Shuster Harmsworth. (May) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Everyone wants to be successful in his or her dealings with other people, whether at home or at work. Here, two experts offer different takes on the subject. In Winning Every Time, Wiehl, a top trial lawyer, TV personality, and legal analyst for FOX News, teaches the reader how to use the methods lawyers use during conflict resolution to solve the problems encountered in everyday life. She demonstrates how one can be one's own advocate through the eight steps of trial preparation, which include clarifying one's position, determining the personalities in the audience, preparing for the battle ahead by doing one's homework, and staying in control when presenting one's case. Each chapter is clear and concise, with handy dos and don'ts sprinkled throughout. Wiehl devotes the second half of the book to illustrating how to use these techniques in specific situations, from parenting to consumer negotiating. Much can be gained from leafing through her book. New York psychotherapist Hankin (coauthor, Succeeding with Difficult Clients) takes a different tack and concentrates on one's inner makeup. To her, confidence starts with emotional maturity, a place people arrive at when they give up blame, self-criticism, and self-pity. She discusses the things people do to undermine themselves, such as bingeing, pleasing, whining, avoiding, and thinking negative thoughts. She illustrates each point with interesting case studies and gives readers "workouts" for their particular weaknesses. Unfortunately, the tone is simplistic, and Hankin discusses her own life a little too frequently. Still, she offers sound advice and should appeal to the reader who wants "therapy-lite." Both books have something to offer public libraries. Collections with a wealth of core self-esteem books should try Wiehl's work, while those heavy on assertiveness training and technique books could probably benefit from Hankin's.-Deborah Bigelow, Leonia P.L., NJ Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345469205
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/26/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 1,019,692
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 7.98 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author

Lis Wiehl

Lis Wiehl is one of the nation’s most prominent trial lawyers and a highly regarded commentator. She is the legal analyst on the Fox News Channel for Fox & Friends, Hannity & Colmes, and The O’Reilly Factor. She lives with her two children in Westchester County, New York.

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Interviews & Essays

A Conversation with Lis Wiehl,

Author of

How to Use the Skills of a Lawyer
in the Trials of Your Life

What prompted you to write WINNING VERY TIME?
A paralegal came into my office in tears one day asking for advice about a conflict in the office. She had received a negative review for the first time in the ten years she had worked with us and was worried about her job. Drawing on my legal training, I coached her as she formulated her case, gathered her evidence, and honed her arguments. Ultimately she won–her supervisor agreed to amend the review. It was then that I realized that the logical and rational techniques I had learned in law school could be applied not only to legal problems but to the difficulties everyone experiences in everyday life.

Can non-lawyers really use legal techniques to win confrontations?
All of us have to stand up for ourselves every day, but too often our personal insecurities, weaknesses and hang-ups make it difficult to express–and attain–what we really want. In WINNING EVERY TIME I explain how anyone can take advantage of the valuable set of practices and strategies lawyers use to win their cases in the courtroom in order to rise above the helplessness they feel in conflicts at work, at home, and in life. And as I break down the strategies that lawyers employ, I show that the skills of a lawyer are empowering, not intimidating. These skills help organize logic, compose passions, measure arguments, and stay focused on genuine goals.

But legal strategies seem to be all about winning at all costs. How can they assist in resolvingconflicts satisfactorily for both sides?
Let's be clear. I'm not out to make a litigious society more litigious, telling you how to take your neighbor to court because his fence is too high. My book tells you how to solve problems–everyday problems–using the language, skills, and techniques lawyers employ during conflict resolution. Sometimes this means discovering you're wrong. If the facts and the morality of the situation are not really in your favor, you have to get off your high horse and admit you're wrong. Happiness is a by-product of achieving a just result, not achieving the result at the cost of all others.

What are the most important skills you have learned as a lawyer?
The most important skills are the Eight Steps I outline in this book. And they start with perhaps the most important skill–knowing your theory of the case. If you don't figure out what it is you want before you start, you're like a ship without a rudder–off course from the moment you leave the dock.

Can you explain the Eight Steps to winning a case?
Step 1. Know Your Theory of the Case. What is it you want?
Step 2. Voir Dire. Who can give you what you want? And where and when are you going to talk to that "juror?"
Step 3. Discovery. Find the facts to support your case and find what the other side might use to destroy it.
Step 4. Make Your Case. Confidently state your theory, demonstrate the facts that will entitle you to a favorable verdict, and request the outcome you want.
Step 5. Cross-examination. Get the other side to agree to evidence that supports your case.
Step 6. Avoid the Spins. Stay true to your case by avoiding hearsay, last minute charges, and resorting to emotion.
Step 7. Tell a Story. Advocate with heart by telling a relevant story that humanizes what you want and wins the heart of your decision maker.
And Step 8. Sum It Up. Having made the best possible case, close the deal by restating what you want–your theory of the case–and asking your juror to give it to you.

What mistakes do most people typically make while pleading their cases?
Perhaps the biggest mistake is allowing manipulative techniques to creep into relationships and negotiations. In the clutch is the most important time to keep the argument authentic and avoid reacting with inappropriate emotion. If you're using the Eight Steps, you won't rely on hearsay, toss in additional charges, or make subjective characterizations. By eliminating reliance on these self-destructive techniques, you'll be using the vastly more rational, effective strategies outlined throughout the book.

Can these techniques be used with family members?
Absolutely. I dedicate an entire chapter to advocating with loved ones and another chapter on effective parenting. While I was writing the book, I coached more than fifty people on how to use the Eight Steps to better their lives. I helped them improve their relationships, convince their kids to do their homework, negotiate family vacations without hurting feelings, and even, have a better sex life.

Have these skills helped you in your life?
I would never have gotten the job at Fox without using these skills and discovering my "inner advocate." And I draw on these skills as I handle the stress of being a single mom, a commuter, a sister, a friend, a chauffeur, a tutor, a handywoman, a bookkeeper. I've used the Eight Steps everywhere from the Stop & Shop when I had groceries but no dealing with the cable dealing with Bill O'Reilly on air.

What is it like going up against Bill O'Reilly?
He's the toughest defense attorney, judge, and prosecutor combined. I stay calm, and when I get his goat–I know I'm winning.

Do you use these steps to discipline your kids?
Yes. The Eight Steps provide the structure that child psychologists recommend, and I've found they're useful in many kinds of parent-child interactions. Not long ago I had a touchy incident with one of my children–and found myself in the kind of situation a lot of parents might find familiar. Preparing to do a load of laundry, I found several candy wrappers in my son Jacob's jeans. I knew I hadn't bought him the candy, and thinking back over his activities over the last couple of days, I had an unsettling idea of where he had gotten it. Because ten-year-old Jacob prides himself on being a good kid, I knew that it would be of limited value to accuse him directly. He would clam up and deny everything, then agonize about his lying in a way that would ultimately be counterproductive. Instead, when he came in from playing that afternoon, I showed him the candy wrappers and asked him if we could figure out together where they had come from. We did, and he willingly went to the store and paid the manager for the candy he had shoplifted.

Your father is an attorney. Did he make you go to law school?
Absolutely not. In fact, my family was surprised both that I wanted to go to law school and that I got into Harvard. I had been offered a job with Ladies' Home Journal as an assistant editor when I received my acceptance letter from Harvard. But the editor there encouraged me to go to Harvard. She said, "We'll be here when you finish."
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2004

    Crafty, Constructed, Calculating & Convenient Reality

    Initially, I found the premise of this book to be fascinating ---the idea of dealing with life situations by addressing them as your ¿case¿, in the same way a successful, skilled lawyer outlines his/her strategies. What I found was a carefully packaged and unbelievable book. The situations in this book are contrived and implausible. The tone is overwhelmingly condescending which makes the attempts at self-effacing humor & sharing of personal stories even more unbelievable. This carefully packaged and staged work delivers nothing that common sense and patience won¿t bring. All in all, this book is a lame attempt at a bio under the guise of sharing the secrets that lawyers use. The constant references to the author's personal experiences are distracting and seem to be a passive-aggressive attempt to self-promote. Page after page found me asking, am I to believe that all it takes to ¿win¿ is to think like an attorney? This material does fall into one often used category to describe attorneys --- manipulative. The supposed success stories in the second half of the book are implausible and hard to get through. This material is strikingly similar to Dr. Noelle Nelson's work but totally unbelievable and lacking in warmth and sincerity--- it all seem crafted, the `real stories¿ are nothing but fluff to fill out the pages of the book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2005


    This is a simple technique to stay calm when dealing with life's problems. The author gives 8 steps (that lawyer's use in the courtroom) to get to a goal. The examples explain it so succinctly that I've found myself incorporating the technique organically into my life... Yesterday, I used the steps to not get distracted in an evaluation meeting with my boss and I ended up getting an extra week of vacation. I recommend this book for everyone who wants to get ahead.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2004

    A Major Disappointment

    The major factors that make this book so disappointing are the contrived and implausible 'real' stories in the second half of the book. The application of the law to everyday life is conveyed in an insultingly simplistic manner. The constant refrain of 'tell a story' was used ad nauseum. It seemed as if the reader was being preached at because the tone of this book is overwhelmingly condescending. The author attempts to cover too much ground and the personal anecdotes are an unnecessary distraction and weaken the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2004

    Entertaining read!

    I had the privilege of reading this book before it was released and I must say, it is very well written and conveys practical advice that we all can use. Lis is not trying to turn everyone into a lawyer nor did she write the book using confusing 'legalese'. To the contrary, she explains in layman's terms (in a non-condescending manner) how to 'lay out your case' and to not react strictly by emotion so you can better deal with a contrary co-worker, a loved one or even your auto mechanic. She also explains how you should figure out what result you want from a situation before trying to handle it. Together with the personal anecdotes/experiences in the book it is a very entertaining read and I would recommend this book to anyone!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2004


    What makes this book special is that the first half is the how to, the second half tells the stories of people who've used these skills to win. The author conveys a great message of empowerment--starting out with figuring out what it is you really want and figuring out who you can go to (juror) that can help you achieve it. This book has me approaching my problems--everyday problems--in a much more calm, logical way. I recommend this book to anyone--whether you want to get a raise or raise your children.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2004


    A friend in publishing gave me an advance copy of this book, and I must say after reading it I've found myself using these steps to win at work, at home, and in my daily life (I just got a better deal on a stereo system because I took the author's advice.) The best thing about the book is that it puts the practical steps of law to use in a good (and friendly) way. The author makes the point several times to question your own motives (that if you're going to 'win' you should be winning for the right reasons or it will feel like a loss.) I highly recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2004


    I've seen Lis on Fox News commenting on things of national importance, and debating the law, I've always been impressed by her sharp mind, as well as her kindness. She's not your typical tv pundit. This book shows helped me approach my arguments more rationally, rather than emotionally. With 8 Steps, Lis shows how lawyers do it in the courtroom and how you can do it in life. I'm giving a copy to my mother for Mother's Day. It's a book that everyone can learn from.

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