Closing Arguments: Use the Rules Governing The Case

In giving a closing argument, it is essential that counsel use the legal language of the case. The court will be instructing the jury on various principles of law that could be absolutely crucial in the jury’s determination of the facts. Thus, when discussing a case with the jury, counsel should use the language of the case. Counsel should use and explain terms such as “preponderance of the evidence,” “proximate cause,” “breach of duty,” “failure to exercise ordinary care,” “negligence,” and “damages.” If, for example, a central issue in the case is whether the plaintiff was contributorily negligent, that term should be used (exactly as will be charged by the Court) and explained as are other terms of art.
Many cases have unique questions of law that ultimately will control a jury verdict. It is absolutely essential that counsel use the language of the case from the beginning of the case through its end. Hopefully, the key language of the case was used in Opening Statement. Utilizing “the echo effect” during summation, counsel can use the same language of the case during summation in convincing the jury that their view of the evidence should be such that the issues are resolved favorably to the client.

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