Chapter SixOPEN FIRE…

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OPENING STATEMENTS, AS JURORS ARE REPEATEDLY REMINDED, are not evidence. Furthermore, they are not final argument. They are merely an organized recitation—a road map—describing what the actual evidence in the case will be. That being said, to most people opening statements sound an awful lot like both evidence and argument. They are an important early opportunity for the lawyers to talk directly to the jurors about the facts. More importantly, they are a strategic watershed, a chance to out-maneuver opposing counsel and cut him or her off at the knees early in the process.

Of all the many givens in trial practice, one of the most tried and true is that you never want to appear to have played “hide the ball” with a jury. ...

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