Every advocate confronts the problem of handling bad facts or adverse authority. Do you ignore it? Do you wait for the other side to raise it and then rebut it? Or do you confront it head-on, hoping to defuse it? Experienced advocates have differing opinions on this question but usually cannot cite scientific studies supporting their opinions.
If you’re interested in knowing what social science has to say about the best strategy for handling negative facts or law, then read Kathryn Stanchi’s new article, Playing With Fire: The Science of Confronting Adverse Material in Legal Advocacy. In it, she explores social-science studies about the persuasive effect of disclosing negative information, including when and how to do it.
(Hat tip to Legal Writing Prof Blog.)