March 25, by Brittany McSorley A closing statement is a statement made at the end of a debate, or more often, a legal trial, delivered by a representative of each side of the case or debate. It is the last chance for both parties of said debate or trial to state their argument, and hopefully affect the verdict or outcome in their favor. Often, the closing statement is the most important and memorable part of the legal process, given its placement at the conclusion of the trial and its dramatic nature, and it is usually organized in a specific way.
There are very few times when practicing law feels like artistry; closing argument is one of them. Quach, Family Lawyer As trial lawyers, we all dream of drafting a beautifully crafted, compelling closing argument — a solid summary of the evidence that leaves the Court breathless to draft an opinion in our favor, and our clients clamoring to pay our bills in gratitude for excellent advocacy.
And we can practically taste how wonderful our closings will be as we view the trial during each of these stages. Suddenly, incorporating all of those wonderful ideas seems an unattainable goal.
We have no idea where to begin. This Hot Tip is designed to help with the task of drafting a closing argument in five easy steps.
The Five Easy Steps The five easy steps to drafting a persuasive closing argument are based on the premise that closing argument is drafted, in part, while Closing arguement is going on rather than after the trial.
Certainly, one cannot draft a good closing argument until Closing arguement end of the case, but why not brainstorm about ideas for closing as you listen to the case?
Pull out your highlighters, colleagues, as you are listening to opening statements and testimony so that you can easily refer to what you found compelling as you listen to the case.
Then, when you finally have the opportunity to draft your closing argument, you can collect all of these bits and pieces and quickly incorporate them into your argument. Lest I get ahead of myself, though, the steps in drafting your closing argument should include at least the following: Listen to the Case Carefully.
Listen to the witnesses, the evidence presented, and the Court and opposing counsel with the theme of your case repeating like a well-memorized mantra.
Also, look for the Big Mistake made by the opposing client. Highlight Supporting Information for Future Reference. Highlight any testimony, and comments by the Court that support your theme in the case, as well as your perception of the Big Mistake made by the opposing client.
Fit the Supporting Information into Your Outline. Take all of the highlighted information that you thought was helpful and place it into the outline that you have created. After you have created an outline, complete with supporting information, craft a pithy, catchy introduction with which to start your closing.
Listen To The Case Carefully It is important to establish a theme to your case in your opening statement, which is beyond the scope of this Hot Tip, so I will not address how to develop that theme.
Your task, as you listen to the case, is to listen for how your theme plays through the evidence. Is it being supported? Does the theme need to be modified? If so, what additional evidence should be submitted to support the modified theme?
How do you plan to pitch the justification for the modified theme to the Court in closing? Has he made promises that were not kept during the case? Has he introduced testimony or evidence that contradicts his theme? A Big Mistake is the part of a case in which the opposing client submits testimony or evidence that substantially undercuts his initial assessment of the case.
Listen to the case carefully to identify that Big Mistake. It is best to do so in the middle of the case so that the court does not view this technique as unnecessarily negative or overzealous.
Highlight Supporting Information For Future Reference There is no reason to artificially compartmentalize tasks as a trial advocate. Being a good trial lawyer is a lot like flying an airplane on instruments — one has several critical functions to negotiate simultaneously, and it is perfectly fine perhaps even expected to multitask.
So that listening to the evidence for closing argument does not become overly burdensome, I suggest you simply use one color of highlighter to identify the information you feel might be valuable for your closing.
If you highlight the important tidbits, you will be more likely to stop worrying about remembering them later. Those lawyers that are highlighter-happy might use another color for cross-examination.
Remember that there are several sources of information for your closing. The judge may make preliminary comments on the record or in chambers that you wish to address in closing. Your client or an expert might have used a clever phrase to describe a feature of the case.
And do not forget exhibits as a source of closing argument materials, which should be identified by exhibit number in your closing so the Court has a clear outline of why you are making your arguments.Oct 18, · ST. PETERSBURG — Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum gingerly steps back onto the campaign trail Friday with a St.
Petersburg College . Closing Argument. Successful Appeal - Mrs. Greeley, by Mr. Greeley , b, entered stud FEE: $3, Live Foal Standing at Whispering Oaks Farm, LA. Closing Argument. The final factual and legal argument made by each attorney on all sides of a case in a trial prior to a verdict or judgment.
Just as trials begin with attorneys. On Friday, the prosecution opened the final phase of the appellate process with a fiery closing argument meant to remind the two judges and six members of the jury just what Knox and Sollecito.
Improper statements in closing argument by Cassie B. Hanson, Senior Assistant Director Minnesota Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility Reprinted from Minnesota Lawyer (April 5, ) A lawyer’s closing argument is the chronological and psychological finale of a trial.
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