Dave Dolkas
Dave Dolkas


MAP Courses

Contact Dave for available dates and pricing for these courses

How to Storify the Message of Your Case

Key principles for turning your message into a memorable, believable, and visualized story

The most effective way to persuade and convince an audience is to tell a story. When it comes to presenting a complex case, the litigation team must present it through story. Why? Because your audience is genetically wired to be affected and transformed through storytelling. Storytelling is the most powerful form of persuasion and the most efficient and effective structure to use in presenting a case. In this seminar we explore the core principles of storytelling and how to apply them to any case--regardless of the issues involved or the complexity. We examine what story is, why story works as the most powerful presentation structure, and how the power of story changes beliefs and shapes decision-making.  

What you will learn:

  • The mechanics of storytelling: story arc; character, conflict, and change; plots and subplots; the difference between features and benefits.

  • Linear and backward-forward storytelling; how and why to use these alternative story structures.

  • The “But, but, but . . . then” story structure used by great storytelling companies.

  • How to make the story’s message stick with the audience.

  • How to make the story appeal to the audience’s emotional and logical brain regions (i.e., how to win their hearts and minds).

  • The most important principles for visualizing your story.

Project Management for the Lawyer

Project-management principles to achieve the better, faster, and more cost effective results 

Gone are the days of handling a complex legal project the same way the Egyptian pyramids were built—by adding more and more associates to the team to meet deadlines. Law firms can no longer staff matters without regard to how much time is spent or how the client’s legal project is managed and completed. Clients demand and deserve careful planning, competent and effective execution by the legal team, control and containment of the legal spend, and success in achieving the mission. Because the efficient resolution of a case or complex legal project is usually most clients' end-goal, what matters most to clients is whether the legal team properly and efficiently executed to achieve the mission and whether value was provided. In other words, did the team accomplish the mission within the core constraints?

The answer to that question depends largely on how well the team applied principles of program and project management. This seminar covers the most important program and project-management principles to apply to any type of mid- to high-level-importance legal project to achieve a better, faster, and more cost effective result. This seminar also covers the skills a lawyer needs to transition from project-based assignments to running the entire team or a major segment of the legal project.

What you will learn:

  • How to structure the team for maximum efficiency and effectiveness, using program and project-management principles.

  • How to define the mission of your project.

  • How to align the core constraints (time, scope, and costs) with the mission of your case.

  • How to create and apply communication and work-product protocols.

  • How to function and flourish in the role of director of the team: assign and track team members’ roles and responsibilities; run effective team meetings to stay on track and on plan; and follow processes for making timely and well-informed decisions.

  • How to avoid the mistakes of legal teams who fail to achieve the mission, including uncontrolled legal spend; how to apply what Google learned from its quest to build the perfect team.

  • How to apply Google's Smartsheet as the team's project-management platform.

  • How to conduct an after-action review following any significant project event.

Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail!

Defining and creating the mission, risk assessment, discovery plan, and litigation budget for the complex case

Proper planning is critical to winning the complex case and delivering value for your client. Success in managing and presenting the complex case requires thorough, efficient, and cost-effective strategic planning and proper tactical execution. Failing to define the mission of the litigation, evaluate potential risks, develop a coherent discovery plan, and create and adhere to a budget can individually or collectively result in project failure—i.e., not accomplishing the mission of the complex case.  This seminar provides clear and practical instruction on the key aspects of the complex case that must be planned and tactically implemented: defining the mission and then creating and implementing a risk assessment, discovery plan, and litigation budget.

What you will learn:

  • ŸThe principles of commander's intent and spectrum of improvisation; how those principles apply to defining the mission of your complex case.

  • A four-step methodology for defining the mission of your complex case.

  • A three-step methodology for creating a risk assessment of your complex case, allowing your team to analyze all potential outcomes to arrive at the value of proceeding with litigation.

  • Case examples applying the risk-assessment methodology and how the assessment has been used to drive settlement analysis.

  • How to prepare a discovery plan using a systematic and stepped-questioning process designed to determine what discovery to conduct for your complex case and what discovery your opponent is likely to conduct.

  • The problems resulting when litigation teams fail to properly plan discovery and how to avoid those problems.

  • A ten-step method for creating a comprehensive and realistic litigation budget.