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.
Whether 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.
There 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.
By 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.