Marietta, GA personal injury attorney Michael R. Braun talks about the importance and underappreciated effectiveness of a good closing argument.
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There’s a lawyer here in Atlanta who calls that the hootin’ and hollerin’ part of the trial and I’ve always liked that kind of explanation because that’s kind of what it is. And it’s kind of similar to openings from the standpoint of you can’t really win a trial in closing because if you haven’t won it by the time you get to that part then you’ve probably not done something correct along the way. But it is a chance to talk to the jury about what the case was about, how you see it, and kind of wrap all the pieces up together so that the jury understands your story and what you’ve been trying to tell them and what your client has been through.
Oftentimes, the hardest part of or certainly it used to be for me a long time ago the hardest part was the money ask. How do you ask for money? How do you go to a jury, look 12 people in the face, and ask them to award your client millions of dollars? And it’s gotten easier over the years for me because I’ve started to understand not that I’m asking for a million dollars or more but that that’s what my client deserves in many of these cases. My clients in many of these cases have been through just horrific losses whether it’s the loss of a loved one in a wrongful death case, whether it’s having to persevere through a surgery or whatever it may be.
Being in a wreck is no fun, tripping and falling because somebody else didn’t do something correctly or didn’t protect their property is no fun and the process in, and of itself is just not a fun process. It’s not something that anybody should be forced to go through. And when you start understanding those things that I was talking about getting to know your client and getting to know their story once you understand that then asking for the money becomes a lot easier because you understand they really in many cases deserving of large dollar figures because of simply what they’ve been through.
So the closing is your chance to talk to the jury about why your client is deserving of significant compensation for what they’ve been through. And it’s a really important part because there’s only two times in a trial where you do get to talk directly to the jury and one of them is opening statement and the last is closing argument. And it is the last thing that the jury will hear before they go back into the jury room to deliberate on the final verdict. And so it is a very important part they call it summation kind of closing everything together or looping everything together so that the jury understands what the client has been through and why they’re deserving of compensation.