How To Absolutely Rock Opening Statement: And Not Be A Monotone Talking Head
Opening Statement is the time for you, as the attorney, to set the entire tone of the trial. To build a bridge to the jury. Help them to feel safe enough to step onto it. And to start developing trust the jury needs to walk across it to your client’s side.
This process is not helped by preaching. Reading pedantic text. Listing data points. Engaging in platitudes. Or making promises of evidence that cannot be met.
Opening Statement is one of the grand moments of trial. This CLE provides lessons on how to elevate your presentation to one that members of a jury – actually will be thrilled to hear, see and feel.
- How to theme – and weave it through the entire opening (and case)
- Connecting on multiple levels – eliminating the us v. them divide
- Role-playing – to involve all senses
- Pulling concepts from voir dire real-time to build relationship
- Once upon a time – the cadence of storytelling
- Incorporating visuals – without assuming the pictures speak for themselves
Let it flow – ditching the yellow pad
Faculty Information: Karen Koehler, aka the Velvet Hammer, is the Senior Managing Partner at Stritmatter Kessler Koehler Moore, a plaintiff trial law firm that exclusively handles catastrophic personal injury, wrongful death, and civil rights cases. She is best known for achieving the landmark $123M verdict against Ride the Ducks —the largest nonpunitive plaintiff personal injury trial verdict in state history. Recently she achieved a $44.7 Million jury verdict in a motorcycle v. car crash in 2022 – the largest collectible motorcycle crash verdict in the country.
She is the past president of the Washington State Association of Justice, past WSAJ Trial Lawyer of the Year and, the recipient of the National Melvin Belli Award in 2019. She has lived in Seattle since the age of 4, has 3 children, 2 grandchildren and, a spaniel named Nala.