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How to Make an Opening Statement for a Mock Trial

by Whitney Coy, Demand Media

    The opening statement of a mock trial is your only chance to make a good first impression. During opening statements, lawyers for both sides have their chance to introduce themselves, their clients and their cases to the judge and jury. This part of the trial sets the scene for the rest of the case and is your first chance to get the judge or jury on your side.

    Step 1

    Introduce yourself. Make sure the judge and jury know your name. Also introduce your client and any other counsel on your side.

    Step 2

    Tell your story. Let the judge and jury know why you are there. Give a brief rundown of your argument and what you plan to prove. As you speak, maintain open, positive body language, and smile where appropriate.

    Step 3

    Begin the bonding process. Make ties with the jury. Look each member in the eye and try to identify with him. The judge and jury need to feel comfortable with you to believe what you say over the course of the trial.

    Step 4

    Present an overview of any witnesses and evidence you will present during the case.

    Step 5

    Be honest and up front. Admit negative facts about your client that are likely to come out during the trial, and tell the jury why they should look past that. Negative facts always sound better when you bring them to light yourself.

    Step 6

    Tell the jury what you want its verdict to be. Be sure to sound confident and sincere.

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    Tip

    • Be short and to the point. Being long-winded will lose the jury's attention and possibly irritate some members.

    About the Author

    Whitney Coy has been a professional journalist since 2000, working first as a reporter then later as an editor for Columbus Messenger Newspapers in Columbus, Ohio. She received her bachelor's degree in mass communications from The Ohio State University.

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