At the end of the course you should be able to perform the following with regards to closing arguments:


1. ORGANIZE the closing argument to:


        Tie into your theory and theme


        If a defendant, directly challenge the plaintiff=s case


        Summarize your evidence in a forceful and persuasive manner


        Resolve the hard issues in the case by using the Ablock approach@


        Have an emotional appeal and/or an appeal to fairness and justice


        Request a verdict at end


2. Use the BLOCK APPROACH that:


        Identifies the hard issues in the case, usually contained in the jury charge, with which the jury will have to grapple in arriving at a decision


        Sets off each issue with a conclusory statement or a rhetorical question


        Marshals all the evidence in your favor with regards to the issue


        Argues why your evidence is persuasive


        Identifies evidence in opposition


        Argues why opposing evidence is not persuasive


        Concludes with resolution of the issue


3. Make the closing argument PERSUASIVE by:


        Utilizing the doctrines of primacy and recency


        Tying into the case theory and theme


        Avoiding overstatement


        Using powerful language


        As plaintiff, avoiding liability before damages; as a defendant, discussing damages before liability


        Using exhibits and demonstrative aids


        Appealing to both logic and emotion


4. ARGUE in the closing argument, including:


        Jurors knowledge, experience and common sense


        Who can be trusted and believed


1)      Witness=s ability and opportunity to observe


2)      Witness=s manner and conduct while testifying


3)      Witness=s interest, bias and prejudice


4)      Relationship between a witness and a party


5)      Reasonableness of witness=s testimony, particularly in light of other evidence in the case


        Conflicts in the evidence


        What could have happened


        Analogies, stories, quotations, parables, references to the Bible


        Inferences to be drawn from the evidence




        What was proven and not proven


        Failure of a witness to testify


        Burden of proof and whether satisfied


        Jury instructions, applying the law to the facts


        Vivid word pictures




        Emotion, sympathy




5. Use an interesting and dynamic STYLE by following the style section of the Opening Statements Building Block.


6. AVOID prohibited conduct:


        Stating personal belief in truthfulness/untruthfulness of evidence, witnesses or merits


        Allude to any matter for which there has been no evidence


        Misstating the law


        Addressing jurors by name


        Appealing to passion or prejudice, juror=s personal or social interest, rich versus poor, local versus out of state


        Arguing improper inference from evidence admitted for a limited purpose


        Using the Golden Rule


        Personal attacks on opposing counsel unsupported by the record


        References to insurance