Search

Loading

Join 4,200 Subscribers and Get Notified of New Articles Every Week

Your email:

Free Webinar - Integrating Expert Evidence & Winning Arguments - May 6, 2014. Register now, watch live or later.

a2l iss scientific evidence webinar side

Watch Now: Using PowerPoint Litigation Graphics to Win - Webinar

using powerpoint litigation graphics

Free Litigation Webinars - Watch Now

Nationally Acclaimed - Voted #1 Jury Research Firm and #1 Demonstrative Evidence Firm in the U.S.

voted best demonstrative evidence consultants

A2L best demonstrative trial graphics consultants
best demonstrative evidence litigation graphics consultants

Download the (Free) Storytelling for Litigators E-Book

describe the image

Featured Free Download: The Complex Civil Litigation Trial Guide

a2l consultants complex civil litigation trial guide download

Considering Using a Trial Technician at Your Next Trial? Download this first.

trial technicians trial technology atlanta houston new york boston virginia

Featured Free Download: Using Science to Prevail in Your Next Case or Controversy

using science to win at trial litigation jury

Featured FREE A2L E-Book: Using Litigation Graphics Persuasively

using litigation graphics trial graphics trial presentation consultants

Free Jury Consulting & Trial Consulting Guidebook for Litigators

jury consulting trial consultants guide

Featured E-Book: The Patent Litigator's Guide to Trial Presentation & Trial Preparation

patent litigation ebook 3rd edition

Timelines Appear In Most Trials - Learn how to get the most out of using trial timelines in this ebook

trial timelines graphics consultants litigators

Featured Complimentary eBook - The 100-page Antitrust Litigation Guide

antitrust ebook a2l litigation consultants

Featured Complimentary eBook - Leadership Lessons for Litigators and Litigation Support

leadership lessons litigation law firms litigation support

Featured E-Book: The Environmental Litigator's Guide to Trial Presentation & Prep

environmental litigation trial presentation trial prep ebook a2l

Authors

KenLopez resized 152

Ken Lopez founded A2L Consulting in 1995. The firm has since worked with litigators from all major law firms on more than 10,000 cases with over $2 trillion cumulatively at stake.  The A2L team is comprised of psychologists, jury consultants, trial consultants, litigation consultants, attorneys and information designers who provide jury consulting, litigation graphics and trial technology.  Ken Lopez can be reached at lopez@A2LC.com.


ryanflax blog litigation consultant 

Ryan H. Flax, Esq., Managing Director, Litigation Consulting, joined A2L Consulting on the heels of practicing Intellectual Property (IP) law as part of the Intellectual Property team at Dickstein Shapiro LLP, a national law firm based in Washington, DC.  Over the course of his career, Ryan has obtained jury verdicts totaling well over $1 billion in damages on behalf of his clients and has helped clients navigate the turbulent waters of their competitors’ patents.  Ryan can be reached at flax@a2lc.com.


dr laurie kuslansky jury consultant a2l consulting
Laurie R. Kuslansky, Ph.D, Managing Director, Trial & Jury Consulting, has conducted over 400 mock trials in more than 1,000 litigation engagements over the past 20 years. Dr. Kuslansky's goal is to provide the highest level of personalized client service possible whether one's need involves a mock trial, witness preparation, jury selection or a mock exercise not involving a jury. Dr. Kuslansky can be reached at kuslansky@A2LC.com.

Posts by Category

Follow A2L Consulting

Member Red Well Blog
ABA Blawg 100 2013 7th annual

A2L Featured Letter of Recommendation

Follow Us on Google+

The Litigation Consulting Report

Current Articles | RSS Feed RSS Feed

6 Reasons The Opening Statement is The Most Important Part of a Case

 


opening statement trialby Ken Lopez

Trials are structured in familar segments – opening statements, direct examination, cross-examination and closing arguments. Of those events, I believe that opening statements deserve more emphasis than any other portion of the case.

As trial lawyer Ira Mickenberg has said, “Opening statements are the lens through which jurors view the evidence. The most important thing to understand about opening statements is that they establish the context in which the jurors will interpret all of the evidence they hear during the trial. [PDF]"

With this context, I offer 6 reasons why I believe opening statements are the most important part of a case:

  1. FRAMEWORK: It is a psychological truth that people like to place information in a coherent framework rather than deal with disjointed bits of data. As soon as jurors hear any facts, they will begin to connect the dots and fill in the picture of the events in their minds. Therefore, it is crucial that the framework that they use should be yours rather than the other side’s.

  2. WHO HOLDS THE TRUTH?:  When the trial starts, jurors figure someone is lying and someone is telling the truth. The opening statement is when they initially reach these conclusions. The opening statement offers the best opportunity to grab and hold the high ground - while at the same time positioning your opposition as slippery.
     
  3. JURORS DECIDE EARLY: Jury research has shown that as many as 80 percent of jurors make up their mind immediately after hearing the opening statements. This may seem unfair or strange, but it is true.

  4. ATTENTION: Unless a celebrity witness like Bill Gates or Scarlett Johansson will be taking the stand, the judge’s and jurors’ attention levels will be at their highest during the opening statement. This is your opportunity to grab their attention with a compelling story and compelling demonstrative evidence and keep it.

  5. IT'S GOOD TO BE ROOTED FOR: People like to pick someone to root for early. Did you ever watch a sporting event with teams you don't know well? Don’t you normally pick a favorite early in the game? A trial is no different.

  6. ABC - ALWAYS BE CLOSING: As is true of all sales events – and a trial is a sales event – emotion is what matters. People buy on emotion and justify on facts. In jury trial terms, that means they decide after opening who is the emotional winner and spend the rest of trial and deliberation justifying their emotional leaning with the facts that fit best.

download-free-e-bookleton-leading-litiga  

As noted trial lawyer Herald Price Fahringer has said, “Cases are won or lost on the opening statement. Therefore, all your ingenuity, all your intellectual resources, all your stamina, has to be poured into that opening statement, because your failure to fully exploit that critical opportunity can mean either winning or losing a case.”

Fahringer has said, in fact, that the opening line of the opening statement is particularly critical because it grabs the jurors’ attention. 

He points to an excellent example from the opening lines of P.D. James’ 1989 novel, Devices and Desires: “The Whistler's fourth victim was his youngest, Valerie Mitchell, aged fifteen years, eight months and four days, and she died because she missed the 9:40 bus from Easthaven to Cobb's Marsh.”

As Fahringer says, we need to learn from these artists.


[We shared this helpful clip from Herald Price Fahringer in a recent article and thought it was worth singling out]





Additional resources related to opening statements on A2L Consulting's web site:






opening statement demonstrative evidence litigation graphics


 

About A2L Consulting

•  Leading national litigation consulting firm since 1995

•  Personnel nationwide

•  Routinely voted #1 for demonstrative evidence consulting, jury consulting or intellectual property litigation consulting nationally

•  Consulted for all major law firms on 10,000+ cases with trillions of dollars cumulatively at stake offering:

Trial Consulting: mock trials, Micro-Mock™, mock Markman hearings, jury consulting, shadow juries, jury selection and more; 

Trial Graphics: legal graphics and litigation graphics, courtroom animation, video, printed foam core trial exhibits, PowerPoint presentation consulting, simplifying the case story and more; 

Trial Technology & Onsite Personnel: ebriefs (electronic briefs), hot seat operators, trial technicians, courtroom presentations and more; 

Look for A2L trial consultants, graphics consultants and jury consultants in Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD, New York, NY, Boston, MA, Alexandria, VA, Atlanta, GA, Miami, FL, Chicago, IL, Houston, Texas, Los Angeles, CA, and San Francisco, California, Wilmington, Delaware, Philadelphia, PA, Phoenix, AZ, San Antonio, Palo Alto, Dallas, Detroit, Baltimore, Cleveland, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, Richmond, VA, Salt Lake City, Denver, London, Dublin, Johannesburg, Brussels and many other cities and countries around the world. A2L Contact Information


Claim a FREE Subscription to this Blog - The Litigation Consulting Report - Quarterly iPad Giveaways for Subscribers


Comments

Currently, there are no comments. Be the first to post one!
Post Comment
Name
 *
Email
 *
Website (optional)
Comment
 *

Allowed tags: <a> link, <b> bold, <i> italics