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Training Guide

Opening Statements


Training Guide

Opening Statements

Trial Practice

What’s Covered

  • Getting Started
  • Telling the Story
  • Introducing Key Evidence
  • Complexities and Negative Facts
  • Delivery

Before the Session

Prepare the Attendees

Send the attendees an invitation for the session. Include this link, which has the videos and exercise they’ll need to prepare.

Prepare Yourself

Watch the videos and read the exercise so you’re familiar with the Hotshot material.

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    Opening Statements

    A walk-through of how to prepare and ultimately deliver your opening statement. Covers how to get the jury’s attention right away, tell your client’s story, introduce key evidence, distill complexities, handle negative evidence, and end with a bang. Also teaches specific things you can do (and not do) to win the jury over.

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    Opening Statements


During the Session

Part 1: Knowledge Check
Ask attendees these questions to ensure they understand the topic:
  • What are the purposes of the opening statement?
  • What are some things to keep in mind about the theme you choose?
  • When telling the client’s story, what are some things you can build your story around?
  • What level of detail about the case should you include in your opening statement?
  • How should you handle technical concepts that are hard to understand?
  • What should your demeanor be like during your opening?
  • What should you do if you’re the defendant and the plaintiff has just given a strong opening? 
Part 2: Group Exercise
Lead a group discussion based on the exercise. To encourage collaboration, divide the attendees into groups to discuss the exercise, then have a representative from each group summarize their views to the larger group. Call on people to share their thoughts and ask others to respond.
Tip for remote sessions: use your web conferencing system’s breakout room feature to divide people into groups.
Part 3: War Stories and Firm Specifics
Share your own experiences and guidance, including:
  • Anecdotes and war stories (e.g., about a near-disaster or a tough negotiation)
  • General practice tips (dos and don’ts)
  • Firm-specific guidance and practices

After the Session

To continue their learning, attendees can check out related courses in Hotshot’s Trial Practice topic.

About Hotshot

Hotshot helps lawyers develop their legal, business, and technology skills through short videos, quizzes, and summaries, and we help law firms and law schools plan and deliver engaging training programs. Our customers include Am Law 200 firms, top law schools, and regional and international firms.

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