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Are Closings Really That Important?Are Closings Really That Important?

Are Closings Really That Important?

Kirk Simoneau

Lawsuit Information

Well, conventional wisdom says you can’t win a case in closing, you’ve, at that point, already won or lost. I, as you know by now, disagree with conventional wisdom. I think you can save a case in closing.

To me, the biggest iss ue with a typical closing is that plaintiffs lawyer sare too timid or are trying too hard to mold their case into the “reptile"or the “rules” or whatever is popular that day. To me, a closing is an attack. I attack every offensive, and lawyerly thing that the defense did .  I call the defense on everything and I get·worked up about it.

Then, I walk, just like I did in the opening, through every witness. This time, of course, I editorialize and I make sure I offer some criticism, where warranted, for even some of my witnesses. I’m just there to tell the jury the whole truth, to make the jury see the big picture. I point out that it’s the defense trying to show part of the story.

Obviously, I argue my theory of liability - highlighting the evidence and testimony most on point, but I don’t let anything or anyone who came before the jury go without comment. You never know what’s important to them. It doesn’t have to take long, just a quick word.

You also have to explain the burden of proof. I suggest blending your liability argument and burden argument into your explanatfon of the jury instructions. Use the words, verbatim, the judge will use. The jury can test your truthfulness on that point fairly soon. Use analogies that will make sense to your jury. Go back to some point in your voir dire or reference an example from the real life of your jmy. You’ve reviewed their questionnaires, you’ll know if two jurors are nurses and three are retired. Know your audience and build around it.

Like so many other topics, books have been written on closings. I believe there is no right or wrong way. My approach works for me, but I change it for the evidence. One thing that doesn’t change is the photo of defect. I go back to the photo as often as I can. I advise you to do the same.

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