Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
;

Author Topic: how to write an opening statement?????  (Read 1762 times)

nyclivin

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 37
    • View Profile
how to write an opening statement?????
« on: February 22, 2008, 05:17:09 PM »
Anyone have tips on how to write one? 

sir_scott

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 35
    • View Profile
Re: how to write an opening statement?????
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2008, 05:54:22 PM »
Take Trial Ad I at your school. 

Alternately, the book, Basic Trial Advocacy, by Peter Murray is decent.

Few opening statement tips:
1.  avoid argument
2.  use descriptive facts [Not "it was a cold night and a long walk for Louie", but "His cheeks were chapped by the time Louie had walked the four blocks back to his apartment, fortunately his wife had hot tea at the table for him..."
3.  simple visual aids, if relevant
4.  tell a story [beginning, middle, end] - like you care about it
5.  weave in some personal anecdote about you, if it adds to your credibility and people would find it interesting [open statement is first opportunity to sell the factfinder on your credibility]

xferlawstudent

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 608
    • View Profile
Re: how to write an opening statement?????
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2008, 07:53:18 PM »
Above is good, plus I would create a theme of the case and start playing on the juries minds.  Its true that you cannot argue the case in opening, but the jury will almost certainly make up their minds on the verdict during the opening statement.  Come up with a theme of the case and revisit it after opening.

Peaches

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 0
    • View Profile
Re: how to write an opening statement?????
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2008, 11:10:52 PM »
Be careful with the "personal anecdote."  That can backfire pretty easily.

dbgirl

  • LSD Obsessed
  • *****
  • Posts: 5091
    • View Profile
    • KnowTheTruth
Re: how to write an opening statement?????
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2008, 12:20:32 PM »
Be careful with the "personal anecdote."  That can backfire pretty easily.
I've never heard anyone use a personal anecdote unless he/she was on a fictional TV legal drama.
That strikes me as an odd strategy.
I do agree w/sir_scott that the OP should take trial ad.
When you have somebody dying because they are poor and black or poor and white or because of whatever they are ... that erases everything that's great about this country.

-TMcGraw

http://www.wm3.org/splash.php

sir_scott

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 35
    • View Profile
Re: how to write an opening statement?????
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2008, 12:54:53 PM »
Be careful with the "personal anecdote."  That can backfire pretty easily.
I've never heard anyone use a personal anecdote unless he/she was on a fictional TV legal drama.
That strikes me as an odd strategy.
I do agree w/sir_scott that the OP should take trial ad.

It is a common technique, that I stole from an experienced trial atty, who probably stole if from someone else.  I typically mention my 2 yr old son and/or my wife.  Relating some brief anecdote [if interesting and adding to your credibility] to the facts (ex.  My wife X takes our 20 month old son, Y, to a story reading at the library every Tues. morning, the library is about 40 ft across the street from where the defendant collided into the parked car and sped off without leaving any information...hit/skip].  Obviously, use the descriptive fact technique in the above post.  But, if you feel comfortable, then try it.  If you don't then don't.  The technique, used properly, basically communicates that this is a real person (as opposed to just an atty), and that someone can stand him enough to be with him and have his children. 

yongsoo

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 238
  • Bah weep Grah nah weep ninny bon
    • View Profile
Re: how to write an opening statement?????
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2008, 09:57:40 PM »
This is life. So go and have a ball. Because the world don't move to the beat of just one drum. What might be right for you may not be right for some. You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have...my opening statement. Sit, Ubu, sit. Good dog.

craven

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 122
    • View Profile
Re: how to write an opening statement?????
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2008, 12:31:36 PM »
I like scott's advice, aside from the anecdote bit.  I've seen that strategy used pretty poorly in the past, and have yet to see it really kick ass.

mmhome

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 48
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: how to write an opening statement?????
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2008, 06:20:51 PM »
Personal anecdotes are used ot get the jury to like you or at least accept you.  The time for them is the jury selection process not the opening statement.  Basically, jsut remember, the opening statement is to tell teh story you are going to tell in the trial.  You tell them what you are going to say.  When you are done, the jury should know the theme of your case and will be looking for evidence to support it during your case in chief.  Don't forget to work in the bad stuff they are going ot hear too.  It is better they hear it from you and not from the opposing counsel.  Just tell the story....don't argue anything yet.

Peaches

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 0
    • View Profile
Re: how to write an opening statement?????
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2008, 09:04:38 PM »
Your version of telling the story should be arguing at least a little.