‘Remind, Never Lecture’: 5 Tips to Improve Your Closing Arguments

Michael Maslanka, an associate professor of law at the University of North Texas at Dallas, gives a few pointers on how to give a great closing argument, and certain pitfalls for attorneys to avoid. 

Suggestion No. 1: Skip the Throat Clearing

Maslanka suggests to skip any unnecessary “throat clearing” which also includes “excessive gratitude and personal stories” that waste the jury’s time. 

Suggestion No. 2: Remind, Never Lecture

Jurors do not want to be told or instructed to “find for your client” no matter what develops in court. Thunderous declarations in your closing argument may turn off a juror. Instead, Maslanka writes to remind jurors of the science and facts of the case, and to remind them that they have a choice to make. 

Suggestion No. 3: The Trifecta—Voice/Pacing/Hands

Maslanka reminds attorneys to underscore points with variations in levels of voice during the closing argument. Any points that can be accentuated using critical pauses, pacing, etc., during delivery of the speech can be practiced. An attorney should not be stuck in one tone of delivery during the closing argument.

Maslanka’s new book titled “A Short and Happy Guide to Professional Responsibility” will be published later this summer by West Academic.

Are you interested in more advice from Professor Maslanka?  Read more in this law.com article.

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