Trial Advocacy


Your close should start how your opening ended and carry on the theme carried through the trial.

You again want to start strong in the first 40 seconds.

You should say what has been proved and what hasn't been proven.

Just connecting pieces of evidence to an element is not persuasive.

Find a way to be creative and connect the pieces of evidence to tell a story.

The main ways students lose points on closing argument are by not opening strongly, just stating evidence without persuasion, not finishing strongly, and not finishing your rebuttal strongly.

Rebuttal is not just responding to the other side's case. You have to prepare for it. You will already know basically what the defense's closing argument will say.

You should use visuals, but don't use visuals for the sake of visuals. Visuals don't have to be admitted as evidence. Visuals for closing should be argumentative.

  • A criminal defense lawyer should have the steps of proof with beyond-a-reasonable-doubt at the top.
  • Don't use jury instructions.
  • You want minimal amounts of text generally.
  • Be creative with PowerPoint. A popular method is to construct a "wheel of guilt" with text in a circle with arrows pointing towards the defendant in the middle. Sometimes just make it something to consider, sometimes a single phrase from a jury instruction underlined.