Closing Argument – Shelving Some Good Ideas

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What are some other resources I should consult?  Here is a list of books dealing directly with closing arguments that should offer both guidance and inspiration:

  1. Polarizing the Case: Exposing and Defeating the Malingering Myth by Rick Friedman: This book provides an innovative approach to trying cases. Too often we allow the defense in personal-injury cases to hide behind ambiguities and insinuate that client is not being truthful. This book provides you with concrete examples to force your opponent to either embrace fully embrace the position; that your client is “a liar, a cheat and a fraud” or completely abandon this position. The book provides a comprehensive approach to simplify your case and deal with a single coherent theme… Is my client telling truth about her injuries?
  2. David Ball on Damages by David Ball: An excellent book on strategies and methods to help jurors better appreciate the scope of damages and why it is necessary to compensate those who have been damage or injured.
  3. Closing Argument: The Last Battle by Mike Papantonio: This book is a well-organized collection of miscellaneous arguments and analogies which can be used to explain and illustrate various legal issues and address common defense attorney arguments and tactics which are used to undercut, confuse, distract or sidetrack juries from the central issues in a personal injury case. The book has a number of very effective arguments which address topics such as calculating money damages for pain and suffering, adverse witnesses, the burden of proof/ reasonable man standard, subtle appeals to prejudice, and other often encountered issues in civil cases. A review of the table of contents will give you a good idea of this book’s value.
  4. Win Your Case: How to Present, Persuade, and Prevail by Gerry Spence: This book will help you find your own voice and become a more effective advocate for you clients.
  5. Theater Tips and Strategies for Jury Trials by David Ball: This book analyzes all aspects of your presentation to juries to become a more effective communicator in the courtroom.
  6. I Remember Atticus: Inspiring Stories Every Trial Lawyer Should Know by Jim M. Perdue: A wonderful compendium of stories that bring to life how legal protections arose such as trial by citizen jurors and the separation and exclusion of witnesses from the courtroom.
  7. In the Interest of Justice: Great Opening & Closing Statements by Joel Seidemann: This is a collection of notable of opening and closing statements in famous cases.
  8. The Devil’s Advocates by Michael S. Lief: This is a collection of notable of opening and closing statements in famous criminal cases.
  9. A Rulebook for Arguments (Fourth Edition) by Anthony Weston: A concise guide on argument structure and use.
  10. Ladies and Gentlemen Of The Jury by Michael S. Lief: This book contains transcripts of notable opening and closing statements in famous cases.
  11. And the Walls Came Tumbling Down by Michael S Lief: This book contains transcripts notable closing statements made in famous civil rights cases.
  12. The Trial Lawyer: What It Takes to Win by David Berg: This book provides a comprehensive overview of what it takes to win at trial.
  13. McElhaney’s Trial Notebook by James W. McElhaney: A collection of essays on trial advocacy by Professor McElhaney which covers a number of areas involved in modern-day litigation.
  14. Moe Levine on Advocacy by Moe Levine: A treasure trove of effective arguments for the plaintiff’s attorney.
  15. The Art of Summation edited by Melvin Block: A collection of fine arguments from the New York Bar published during the 1960s. This book stands the test of time.
  16. The Lost Art: An Advocate’s Guide to Effective Closing Argumen by Judge Joseph F. Anderson, Jr.: This book is a treasure trove of great ideas, quotations, analogies and the law governing closing argument.  It is probably my favorite of those listed above.

There are many more books out there worthy of consideration. This is simply a short list of books I would recommend you read.

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About Richard A. Cook

Richard Cook graduated from Purdue University in the Economics Honor Program in 1979 and obtained his Juris Doctor degree from Valparaiso University School of Law in 1982. Following law school, Richard served as a federal law clerk in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division. In 1984, Richard began working as Deputy Prosecutor for the Lake County Prosecutor's Office and from there, served as Assistant U. S. Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division. There he handled a number of complex criminal matters and jury trials. While there, Richard received the Chief Postal Inspector's Special Award and a letter of commendation from the U.S. Attorney General for his work prosecuting a major money order fraud scheme being perpetrated out of the Indiana State Prison system. Since leaving the U.S. Attorney's office in 1989, Richard has focused primarily on civil work and is currently a member of the firm Yosha Cook & Tisch in Indianapolis. Richard is also a member of the ITLA, IBA and the ABA, as well as, a fellow for the American College of Trial Lawyers. He is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell.

Posted on July 3, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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