5 Tips for Preparing Defense Closing Argument

man holding up five fingers for the five tips for defense closing argumentLike opening statements, defense counsel should strategically organize the closing argument and reduce it to very simple main points. But unlike an opening statement, a closing argument is an explicit argument rather than a narrative containing an implicit argument. Here are five tips for defense counsel’s closing argument. Continue reading

For Richer or Poorer: Don’t Discuss a Party’s Financial Status with the Jury

woman zipping her mouth shut so she won't discuss parties' financial status with juryMany of us were taught that it’s impolite to refer to someone’s financial status. In a courtroom, it may also be misconduct. Continue reading

5 Tips for Crafting a Clear Opening Statement or Closing Argument

Clarity is key. To be persuasive, the meaning of opening statements and closing arguments must be clear to the jury. Here are five tips for attaining clarity, with illustrative examples for each. Continue reading

4 Ways to Appear More Credible to the Jury

Both the opening statement and the closing argument should be used to persuade. An essential part of the persuasion process is establishing your credibility with the jury by nurturing its perception of your sincerity, trustworthiness, and knowledge of facts. Here are four ways to increase your credibility. Continue reading

Should You Discuss Damages During Opening and Closing?

thinkstockphotos-465858366Whether and how you discuss damages in your opening statement and closing argument is a strategic consideration. A plaintiff discussing damages in the opening may turn jurors off, but not doing so can be a tactical mistake. Defendants usually want to steer clear of damages in the opening if possible. And both sides should discuss damages in the closing, but maybe in a different order. Continue reading

Say It Early and Often

78724287The most important concept to remember in organizing your statements to the jury, whether during opening statement or closing argument, is the “rule of primacy”: Jurors tend to believe what they hear first and most frequently. Continue reading

6 Tips for Using Technology in Court Presentations

ThinkstockPhotos-498646267If you’re planning to use electronic technology in your court presentations, such as in your opening statement or closing argument, consider these six tips to make your use of technology as effective as possible while avoiding common pitfalls. Continue reading

Gear Your Oral Presentations to All Types of Learners

ThinkstockPhotos-465171079There are few oral presentations given today that don’t make use of visual aids. It helps with the inevitable attention wandering and it allows you to reach different types of learners. Always try to make your presentations—including opening statements and closing arguments—memorable for all of your listeners. Continue reading

Should You Save Something for Your Closing?

57277978Although it may be tempting to cover everything during cross-examination, there are situations in which it’s better to save something for your closing argument. In fact, it’s a time-honored rule among some litigators to always save something for your closing. But that strategy can be risky, too. Continue reading

Expert Tip: Use Jury Instructions in Your Opening and Closing

78724287By the time you prepare your opening statement, you’ll know specifically what the legal theories of your case are and generally what the jury instructions will be. By the time of your closing argument, the instructions will have been settled. Make sure to plan your opening and closing with the jury instructions in mind. Continue reading