Charlie Rose replayed an old interview with Mike Malice aka Mike Wallace. Here are a couple of gems from the ace reporter that criminal lawyers can learn from:
“With good research you can embarass anybody…make anybody squirm.”
“You can establish a chemistry of confidentiality…You are two people that know a bit about the same subject. If the interviewee has respect for the interviewor and feels that the interviewor knows a good deal and is well prepared, you can ask anything and you’ll find that the interviewee will be a co-conspirator with you.”
Be prepared. That’s a huge part of defending people. Being more prepared than anyone else. That dovetails with Mike’s first statement about having good research. An innocent client once told me essentially – I didn’t do anything wrong here. These are b.s. allegations. But, I don’t care who you are. If I follow you around and know every detail about your life, I’ll dig up some dirt on you and you could get arrested.
Being prepared doesn’t necessarily require finesse, or charisma or charm. However, to establish a chemistry of confidentiality, the interviewee must be open to you. Being genuinely interested in the other person helps. People can sense that intuitively. I believe that our thoughts are attracted and repelled from each other. Thoughts are things. A master salesman knows the time when the sale has been made because he feels the energy from the other person’s thoughts.