I’ve been a big fan of Shari Belitz on LinkedIn over the pandemic. Her posts are eye catching and different for starters. Her engagement is high – she regularly uses song lyrics in her posts, colorful visuals and timely topics to liven up the topic of litigation consulting services. (You can follow her hashtag #clearasabelitz).
Shari is a litigation consultant and strategist, owner and CEO of Shari Belitz Communications, LLC a company which provides mock trial, focus groups, and other litigation consulting services to lawyers and insurance industry professionals.
I asked her to be part of the Women Who Wow series to get to know her better and hope you enjoy all of her terrific advice as much as I did.
Why did you choose your profession?
I have always been fascinated by the study of human behavior, decision making and group dynamics. I took a traditional path by going to law school and practicing law but there was always a “pull” to do what I really loved which was to study people.
During my legal career I took a leap of faith and attended graduate school at night to study forensic psychology and jury research. I fell in love with the field and many years later, I pursued a career in litigation consulting. I wake up invigorated every morning to have the opportunity to do what I love best, apply psychology to litigation. I also teach my methods to litigators through my EnPSYCHLAWpedia™ course which has been a joy to create.
What do you love most about what you do?
My passion is writing case themes and telling stories through witnesses. As a practicing attorney I had taken and defended depositions, and while working at a large company, I was a corporate witness a few times. I draw upon all of these experiences along with my psychology background to put my witnesses through rigorous deposition and trial prep. It is not all boot-camp though! I really get to know them, their personalities, and their stories which reach far beyond the facts of one mere incident. I use their stories and personalities to tell bigger stories and develop themes for cases.
It is really rewarding to meet with a witness who is terrified of the process, has a lot of anxiety, and to talk to them, make them laugh and make them comfortable and confident to give compelling testimony. Even in a very serious case, I promise my witnesses we will not walk out of prep without having shared a couple of good laughs. A confident, comfortable witness is the best witness and always my goal.
What is a surprising/fun fact about you?
I am a ventriloquist! I was a pretty quiet kid with my nose always in a book, but I learned to be a great mimic and to do all sorts of voice tricks. Using these “parlor tricks” helped me connect with people without actually having to say too much about myself. It took the focus off of me, and gave people laughter and joy. I have always connected with people through laughter, it is still the ultimate icebreaker for me.
How has social media helped you build your brand and business?
Social media has been an invaluable tool in helping me build my brand and business. In March 2020 as the COVID pandemic hit New York City, I was at a crossroads professionally and had the additional stress of homeschooling my 10-year old twins while quarantined in an apartment. I was lonely, anxious and overwhelmed. I wrote a heartfelt love letter to New York City and posted it on LinkedIn. The response was overwhelming, and I felt as if I had finally found my voice.
I wanted to start a trial consulting practice so I threw myself into writing series of posts teaching lawyers how to apply psychological concepts to litigation. The more I wrote the more I was asked to speak. I connected with a group of 50 women attorneys who threw opportunity after opportunity at me. They believed in me, before I believed in myself. Their confidence in my abilities, their kindness and their love catapulted my business, and I landed my first large contract in the summer of 2020.
Twenty of the women and I captured our experiences in an anthology called #Networked which is about how we built business, friendships and so much more during a time of isolation. I believe social media is a great equalizer for small business as you just need great content, ideas and a willingness to share your thoughts with your marketplace. Through social media, particularly LinkedIn I have connected with incredible people around the world and I am forever grateful to know them personally and professionally.