Secrets of Winning Opening Statements


How I would like to approach this conversation with you is to review some basic principles that I have learned over the years and then discuss some practical applications of those principles with actual court room dialogue and examples. While I am going through the examples, if you think of any that have been successful in your practice of law, please feel free to contact me and give me that example. We are all here to learn, including me. In beginning my introduction, I am going to start with Prof. Carlson's conclusion in his paper.

"Perhaps, no area of trial practice is as critical nor enigmatic as that of opening statements. It is an area which successful lawyers must master because a slow start can doom ones effort. As one commentator remarks, a trial is like an athletic contest in this respect. It is hard to come from behind and win." Interestingly, I wrote my paper some 10 years ago before I saw Prof. Carlson's paper recently, and I started out my introduction comparing a trial to an athletic contest.

If you would like to read more about secrets of winning opening statements, please view the document written by Steven P. Gilliam of Smith, Gilliam, Williams, & Miles, P.A.