There have been volumes written about what to say and how to say it in an opening statement so we will keep it short here.
|From the movie My Cousin Vinny|
Your confidence in your case must be on display from the very start. It shows in your stance, your demeanor, the words you say in your opening - and how you say them. By the time you are finished with your opening statement, the jury must have one single "take away" thought - that you believe in your client's case to your very bones.
Second Rule: Never give a weak opening. No one wants a wimp for a trial attorney. And, just as the jury can smell your lack of confidence, your opposing counsel can smell blood in the water. If you don't think you can win the case, then you shouldn't be in the courtroom with it.
Third Rule: Never promise more in your opening statement than your evidence will deliver in the trial. There's an old business rule that goes something like this, under-promise and over-deliver. That same rule should apply to your opening statement. You have to say enought to make the jury realize that you are probably going to win the case, yes. But you should also hold back a little, so that you can impress the jury with your evidence even better in the trial.
Fourth Rule: Keep strong eye contact with your jury. If possible, try to avoid using any crutches during your opening statement. Nothing spells conviction quite like standing in front of the jury box and delivering your opening statement bare naked - meaning no notes at all, merely telling them what the facts are that you are going to prove and why you ought to win and why your opponent ought to lose.
Don't dwell on it, but explain it away with the same conviction and certainty that you use in talking about your "good" evidence too. You can't ignore it for one simple reason: your opponent will be beating that drum loud and clear because it is all they have got to fight you with.
Helping consumer lawyers win cases
for over 30 years.