[TIP] Since students are preparing opening statements, I visited a few of my favorite spots for trial tips to look for some good opening argument tips.
The Texas Young Lawyers Association and Texas Bar CLE have a series of 10-minute videos on different practical topics. Plug in your headphones and check out:
From Elliott Wilcox's Trial Theater, here's How Can I Tell More Powerful Opening Statements?. His advice? Focus on the story you're telling, not the facts, and make it more immediate by using the present tense.
From Evan Schaeffer's Illinois Trial Practice Weblog:
- Notes on Opening Statement.
- Trying Civil Cases by Giving Them a Criminal Theme, with a Focus, Once Again, on Vioxx.
- Opening Statement: Keep It Simple.
- Use Demonstrative Evidence in Opening Statements.
- The Opening Statement: Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You, by Kirkland & Ellis attorney Michael Jones (ABA Automobile Law Committee Newsletter(Oct. 1, 2004)).
- Dennis Kennedy's review of Beyond Bullet Points (also suggesting a screenplay approach to argument).
- Timothy W. Monsees, Trial Tip: Find the Dastardly Deed.
- Jeffrey T. Frederick (Dir., Jury Research Services, Nat'l Legal Research Group), Persuasion at Trial: Opening Statement.
Framing a Worldview at Trial was originally in "Tips from the Trenches" (April 2005). So was The Opening Statement: Making an Impact on the Jury.
A law firm (Ungaretti & Harris) newsletter has Carpe Diem for Powerful Opening Argument.
Illinois Legal Advocate (training for legal aid lawyers) offers a sample opening statement in an eviction case.
All of the above are tips -- quick pieces to read for ideas about presentation. I also came across a scholarly article presenting empirical research:
Shelley C. Spiecker & Debra L. Worthington, The Influence of Opening Statement/Closing Argument Organizational Strategy on Juror Verdict and Damage Awards, 27 Law & Human Behavior 437 (2003).That won't help you prepare your opening statements this week, but it might be interesting for those of you with a scientific bent.
Categories: opening-statements, empirical-studies, tips,