Sharpen Your Opening Statements and Closing Arguments

By Jeffery Leon

July 13, 2017

Arguing in court can be an intimidating experience for an attorney, especially when the stakes are high for a client. Opening statements and closing arguments are particularly crucial to a case’s success, helping to lay out a case for the judge and jury.

Laurie Lyte, principal of Lytehouse Solutions LLCSpend the afternoon of July 24 refining your trial skills at the D.C. Bar CLE Program’s “D.C. Bar Trial Skills Clinic: Opening Statements and Closing Arguments.” The workshop will teach attorneys the critical delivery tips and provide opportunities for attendees to practice these skills with peers in a confident, constructive, and positive learning environment. Laurie Lyte, principal of Lytehouse Solutions LLC and a speaker for this session, shares more about this course.

What’s in store for this CLE?

Lyte: For the “Opening Statements and Closing Arguments” session we’ll walk through a case theory, where we’ll discuss the facts and legal theories for a particular case. We’ll identify the details you’ll want to highlight for a jury or fact-finder, and point out the things you should be aware of that the other side might say in response as we tailor our statements.

We'll have a presentation on openings, a presentation on closings, then follow up with the workshops where attendees will get the chance to give a short opening and closing and receive constructive feedback. The workshops will be conducted in small groups of eight (4 plaintiffs and 4 defendants) to try to simulate the courtroom experience as much as possible.

Finding your approach

What makes an attorney successful? Someone who is authentic to what works for them. In this workshop, we really try to get attendees to try new things, find new approaches, and push their limits. Attendees can expand their thinking and their options, and be more comfortable and have more fun doing so.

Remember your audience

Ask yourself: Who is your audience? Sometimes, as attorneys, we forget that because we've lived with these cases for so long. But at the end of the day, openings and closings are about making the case accessible, understandable, and persuasive for the fact-finder. Remind yourself who you are directing your statements toward.

Closing argument for joining this course

Openings and closings are some of the most fun times, especially closings. You get an opportunity to put your case out there and weave the facts and the law together in a way that is persuasive. It is really the culmination of everything you've done along the way in litigation.

The D.C. Bar Trial Skills Clinic is a great opportunity to be able to do this in an easy and safe environment. Our goal is to make sure people walk out with two or three more tools that they can add to their toolbox of trial skills, so that they can feel confident when they go out and represent clients. 

"D.C. Bar Trial Skills Clinic: Opening Statements and Closing Arguments" takes place on July 24 from 12:30 to 4:45 p.m. at the D.C. Bar Conference Center, located at 1101 K Street, NW. 

Featured speakers include Laurie Lyte of Lytehouse Solutions LLC and Brendan Ruane of Ruane Consultants. 

Register now!