A group of criminal attorneys discussed whether to use PowerPoint Presentations during opening statements and/or closing arguments.
Opening and closing are so idiosyncratic. Each person needs to discern what needs to be communicated to a jury. PowerPoint feels like putting up a billboard and using words to create some algorithm when we know that “beyond a reasonable doubt” is not math or science. Yet, lawyers, trial lawyers, in particular, should be open to using new tools, whatever they might be, to keep us as lawyers relevant and attuned to the attention spans of younger generations.
How one tells the story, makes the argument, or, for me, gathers up the shiny pieces of evidence I’m stringing together to make my argument is really about being vulnerable and comfortable in front of the jury. Taking on cases that don’t always fit my standard idea of how to try a case happened routinely when I took appointed cases regularly, which caused me to approach a case differently each time. To evaluate what is important, what unexpected things might happen, and how inspiration might strike even in the middle of a trial or during closing.
The best advice is to try it out if you can. See if it can work. It doesn’t have to be the whole closing. But practice with it a bit and see if you find it helpful. Even seasoned lawyers can benefit from new tools and growth.
Our education didn’t end with the Bar exam. We can continue to grow and learn. Here are some other thoughts I’ve had about creative closing arguments. Last Ditch: Creative Closings