Closing Argument is the trial’s denouement. To be successful, it must be satisfying and persuasive to the jury. However, often, too often, it becomes a liability due to poor planning or execution. Your Closing Argument needs to be engaging, goal-oriented, honest, and delivered with passion and verve.
The following is a checklist to help you prepare and deliver a successful Closing Argument. In your first few trials, be sure to review this list until the items become familiar and habitual.
By Lilys D. McCoy. Introduction Much has been written about the importance of selecting and advancing a theme at trial. But while theme is important, it is distinct from, and subordinate to, the theory of the case. You may be thinking, “wait, aren’t theme and theory essentially the same thing . . . two interchangeable […]
By Lilys D. McCoy. One of the most critical trial advocacy skills is the ability to lay proper foundation for the admission of evidence. While important, it is often, and surprisingly, overlooked until the moment it is most needed. Standing in the courtroom and hearing the judge sustain a “lacks foundation” objection is stressful if […]
By Lilys D. McCoy. Introduction The topic of character evidence is notoriously difficult. Law students struggle with it, bar takers dread it, and practitioners handle it with mixed results. At first, the basic concept underlying the rules of character evidence seems to make sense: do not use evidence of a character trait to prove that […]
By Lilys D. McCoy. You’ve heard it many times before, perhaps from a law school professor or from a seasoned trial attorney at a continuing legal education seminar: “When it comes to cross examination, one of the most important things to know is when to sit down. Don’t ask the question that is one-question-too-many!” Those […]