Articles Posted in Trial Techniques for Lawyers

How much detail should you reveal in your opening statement?

Some lawyers fear revealing their defense in the opening statement and allowing the Government to adjust their case based on the opening. That can occur; what I do to prevent that is focus on the facts that I know for sure I can prove in the opening, that the Government cannot dispute. Having a motion hearing, allows a lawyer to give a more detailed opening statement because the testimony is locked in.

I prefer to make as detailed opening statement as I can.  I do not believe in the theory of holding back for fear of tipping of the Government for a few reasons; first, the Government, likely knows your theory of defense.  Second, when you leave things out, you do not deliver as effective and confident opening statement.  The more facts and details you can get into from the start the better.  There has been research showing that a jurors begin to decide cases immediately.  Most believe that by the time the Closing Statements are delivered, most jurors would know how they are going to vote.  It is important to start getting jurors to accept your theory of the case from the start of the trial.

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In Books on Trial practice, it is typically recommended to label things during the trial. To use names that fit your theory of the case.

Refocus how the Jury Looks At the Key Evidence in the case

In a recent trial I had, my client made many statements to the officer prior to the field sobriety tests which were not helpful to the defense. What I did to change the focus of the inquiry from my client not giving straight answers, being evasive and appearing not to know what was going on, was to count the questions. I would ask the officer a series of questions and ask if that was the sixth question he asked. Eventually the officer agreed to having asked 12 questions.lawgavel

What are the steps to prepare an OUI case for trial? In this Blog, I would like to explain to you the process I go through to prepare for trial.

The process of preparing for trial starts when I get the case, but when the trial approaches I take the following steps forUnknown-2-300x168 the final 2 days. Two days before the trial, I have all of the evidence, motions and exhibits ready to go, the cross examination written out and like to spend the time practicing out loud. I have attended many training seminars for lawyers and frequently go to the Gerry Spence trial college; you cannot replicate the benefit you get from practiving your closing on your feet out loud. It is when you are rehearinsing out loud, you think of new ideas, better ways to make your argument so it is crucial for delivering a great closing statement.

Study other Great Lawyers to Stimulate New Ideas 

I also like to watch great closing arguments to help my preparation my two favorite include Johnnie Cohran’s Closing in the OJ Simpson trial and Mark O’Mara’s Closing in the George Zimmerman Trial. This month I will post a separate Blog on each of these closing arguments pointing out what I have found useful in watching them over the years.

My top tip for an OUI Lawyer just starting out with first trial is to practice out loud, you may hate to do it at first but when you hear the not guilty verdict you will know you really achieved it telling your closing to the walls in your office.
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