How to Write a Lawyer's Closing Speech
Regardless of whether a lawyer is arguing a case before a jury or a judge, his/her closing remarks can be very influential. A closing speech is the lawyer's last opportunity to explain to the decision maker why his/her client should win the case.
In addition to being compelling, the closing speech should reiterate what was discussed during the trial and the laws that apply to the case at hand. As a closing argument is an integral aspect of a trial, lawyers should endeavour to write closing speeches in advance.
Think about everything that has been or will be argued at trial. Consider the evidence presented in court, including witness testimony and exhibits. Make sure that you understand all applicable laws. Write down a brief summary of the case that you presented prior to your closing argument. Do not introduce any new evidence in your closing speech. Emphasise how the facts and evidence suggest that there should be a judgement in favour of your client. If you introduce new facts during your closing, you will confuse the listener and will likely encounter an objection from opposing counsel.
- Regardless of whether a lawyer is arguing a case before a jury or a judge, his/her closing remarks can be very influential.
- In addition to being compelling, the closing speech should reiterate what was discussed during the trial and the laws that apply to the case at hand.
Tell a story in your closing speech. Write down brief notes or the full speech that you plan to give. Draw your listeners into your speech as soon as you begin it by briefly describing the events that precipitated the lawsuit or criminal charges. Make your client likeable or sympathetic in your speech. Discuss how an adverse judgement would detrimentally affect your client. Remind the decision maker of the evidence that was presented during the trial that tends to prove your client's case.
Point to the applicable law or laws. Briefly state the law to the decision makers to make sure that it is fresh in their minds as they consider the facts of the case. Clearly and succinctly explain how the applicable law does or does not apply in this case. Point out weaknesses in the opposing party's argument. State who has the burden of proving the case and what that burden is. If you have the burden of proof, describe how you satisfied it. If the opposing party has the burden of proof, explain how he/she has failed to meet his/her burden.
- Tell a story in your closing speech.
- Draw your listeners into your speech as soon as you begin it by briefly describing the events that precipitated the lawsuit or criminal charges.
End the speech by telling the decision makers the decision that you think they should reach. For example, if you think that the jury should convict the defendant, tell the members of the jury that you are urging them to convict.
Memorise your closing speech. Do not refer to your notes when you deliver it in court.
Irene Finley began writing professionally in 2009, specializing in law, history, travel and cooking. She is a licensed attorney and holds a Juris Doctor from Tulane Law School.