Trial Advocacy


Openings should be interesting stories about the case, and should not be boring stories about the trial.

  • You should not be saying "You will hear..." over and over.

It should begin strong with a theme and some sort of injustice presented in the first 45 seconds.

The theme should be the same as in the rest of your case.

You cannot argue during opening. You are arguing if you are making conclusions, saying facts indicate something, asking rhetorical questions, explaining the law too much, or combining fact and law.

  • Usually this happens because people stop telling a story.

It is a good idea to use signposts in your opening statement to tell the jury where you're going, especially in time.

Your story is familiar to you, but it won't be to the jury.

You must finish your opening well.

Rost won't take off points for saying "thank you" at the end, but it sounds disingenuous and Rost dislikes it.

The main ways students lose points are arguing, not making it clear to the jury, and not finishing strongly.