Learn trial tips based on decades of real court-room experience from our featured lecturers, demonstrators, and workshop leaders.

Attorney giving closing arguments

Five Considerations for an Effective Closing Argument

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.

Attorney making their closing arguments

Checklist For Closing Argument

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. 

The Development of a Trial Theme & Theory

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 […]

Four Easy Questions: Basic Foundation for the Admission of Evidence

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 […]

courtroom gavel

Five Ways to Complicate Character Evidence

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 […]

Witness testifying

How to Avoid That “One Question Too Many” on Cross-Examination Using Storytelling Principles – A Look at Andrew Stanton’s TED Talk

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 […]

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