Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could tell the Judge all about your case, from your point of view, before you even start with your witnesses? If you could slant the case in a way that would explain what you’re going to prove, how you’re going to prove it, and what the court should find? That’s what an opening statement is designed to do if the court allows you to make one and it is properly done.
Success in trial is based upon the story and the storyteller. Only Texas, New York and Georgia still permit the parties’ story to be told to a jury in a suit for divorce. Texas, alone, permits a jury to determine the custody of a child.
An effective opening statement will combine sight and sound to break up the monotony that is the judge’s curse of “lawyers talking.” Showing the judge what is going on from your perspective as the case starts can often help determine the outcome of the proceedings in a favorable manner.
This Hot Tip is designed to help with the task of drafting a closing argument in five easy steps. It is hardly a panacea for good preparation, but it can help to allow the lawyer’s nonjudgmental, brainstorming juices flow rather than slow the process of drafting when perfectionism looms.