Opening and Closing Arguments
Presenting a Case From an Audience's Perspective
Opening statements and closing arguments are essential persuasive moments in a trial. Whether your audience is an arbitrator, mediator, judge, or jury, you can arm and motivate them to be your advocate.
Experts in the theory and practice of persuasion and advocacy, Tsongas' consultants have the persuasive tools to assist you:
Focus on the case from your audience’s perspective
Construct an organized outline, focusing on placement of key evidence and witness statements, as it builds to a motivating conclusion
Craft vivid language and themes that will increase audience retention of your key facts
Build rapport with your audience through utilizing credibility-building non-verbal behaviors
Utilize effective storytelling techniques designed to increase your audience’s attention, comprehension, and retention
Learn how to effectively inoculate your audience against the opposition’s attempts at persuasion
Opening & Closing work can be completed during case strategy sessions, or separate sessions can be scheduled to work on the details of a specific presentation. The process generally includes developing and refining trial visuals. Video is frequently used to help develop more effective presentation techniques. A skilled communication specialist first reviews a videotaped or live opening statement and/or closing argument. Following recommendations for adjustments, the presentation is videotaped and reviewed again, highlighting areas which may require additional modification. Consultation on presentations should be timed to allow modification of the argument prior to the actual presentation. This may include changes in content, format, presentation style, or demonstrative aids and visuals. Courtroom consultation sessions range between two and sixteen hours in length.
The role of counsel
At a minimum, counsel should be prepared to deliver a preliminary version of the opening statement or closing argument. It is important to have those preliminary drafts, visuals, or exhibits available which will be used in the actual presentation, as well as any equipment necessary to display the exhibits.