The "Art" of a Closing Argument
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The Basics of a Closing Argument
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Assume for a moment that you are a lawyer sitting at your appointed table in a packed courtroom. The judge calls you to deliver your closing argument to the jury. Silence immediately fills the entire place. The jurors, judge, and all the spectators in attendance are looking at you. You gather your composure, focus on what you’re going to say, and stand up. Now what?

The first thing to understand is the mindsets of the jurors themselves. Think about it. Each jury member has been forced to sit upright in an uncomfortable chair for hours upon hours, maybe even several days, listening to a lot of information or concepts that they may not completely understand. They are definitely tired, possibly bored, and hopefully each one of them has begun to develop an opinion about the information that has been fed to them through witnesses and exhibits. Those jurors who are taking their civic duty seriously may even be a little nervous about whether or not they will make the decision that will truly bring justice to the party that was wronged.

Because all of these thoughts and emotions are swimming in the minds of the jurors, it is important that you deliver an effective closing argument that logically ties the case together from beginning to end. As you present a logical argument, it must be done in a manner that is persuasive. You should always remember in the back of your mind that you want to persuade those who are unsure, persuade those who just plain don’t think you should win, and persuade those who are on your side that they have made the correct and just decision.

Once you understand the mindset of the jurors and your corresponding mission to deliver a forceful closing argument, you must understand the specifics about how exactly you’re going to orchestrate your argument so that you get the results you desire. Let’s break it down into four (4) main considerations: (1) create a theme, (2) argue persuasively, (3) maintain a "presence", and (4) deliver a closing that "sticks."

Next, let’s go over how to create a theme.

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