How to Prepare A Winning Closing ArgumentLegal Compliance Resource
September 12, 2012 — 1,228 views
Whether you are representing a plaintiff or defendant in civil or criminal court, the closing argument is an integral part of your case strategy. Much like the opening argument, the closing argument gives you the opportunity to address the jury directly and discuss the merits of your case. The ability to craft a strong closing argument is a special skill learned over time. As you learn to prepare winning closing arguments, keep the following pointers in mind. Remember that while each case is different, you should be consistent in your manner of presentation in court.
Restate your case and the evidence you used in the opening argument to support your claim. This is especially important if you have been involved in a long court case. Remind the jury of your original argument and the evidence you used to support your claims. Be sure to point out that you have been consistent in using the same evidence and presenting the same argument throughout the case.
Address any doubts that the opposing counsel has attempted to place in the jury's mind. If damaging information about your client came to light during the trial, you will need to address it again during your closing statement. You may be tempted to stay away from such information. However, a failure to successfully address the jury's doubts can lead to big problems. Remind the jury of any evidence you brought forth to counter damaging accusations.
Appeal to the jury's sense of duty and justice by pointing out how their decisions can positively affect the life of your client. Whether you are working on the behalf of a plaintiff or defendant, you should communicate to the jury that their decision is going to make a big difference in your client's life.
Avoid presenting information that calls for excessive speculation, as it may confuse the jury. It can be tempting to throw a wild theory at the jury during closing arguments, especially if you are defending an individual accused of a serious crime. In fact, this tactic is regularly used in books and movies. However, you should keep in mind that presenting alternative theories to the jury may be confusing and may lead to lengthy deliberations that do not benefit your case.
Show your appreciation to the jury. Remember to thank the jury for their service. Jurors tend to dislike lawyers who seem overly narcissistic and are unable to address them on a human level.