How to Write a Closing Statement?
If you are planning to build your career in law, public speaking, and other related fields, you should be aware of the characteristic peculiarities of a closing statement. A closing statement is a document that is often prepared in addition to direct and cross-examination. Since this document has specific functions and purposes, it should be written, structured, and formatted accordingly. If you do not have sufficient experience in handling such tasks and you have no idea how to write a closing statement properly, then our guide will be particularly important for you as it contains a lot of handy tips and suggestions that will help you understand the specifics of this document better.
When it comes to debates and mock trials in class, even the best arguments will not allow you to reach the expected outcome if you fail to present a good closing statement. The primary goal of this statement is to wrap up a discussion by making strong connections between the main claim and the evidence used to support it. If you are lacking sufficient experience in writing good closing statements, then you should read our suggestions attentively.
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What Is a Closing Statement?
In a legal field, a closing statement is a final statement that is expressed in the court before the judge makes any decision regarding the case. Typically, it is longer and more detailed compared to an opening statement, which aims just to present the case. Having a certain purpose, a closing statement should provide the review and summarization of the evidence presented during the case. A good closing statement often includes a rebuttal section, which means that the attorney should be ready to respond to the arguments of their opponents in a dynamic setting. If you are planning to build your career in a legal field, you should understand that the closing statement plays a significant role in making a decision, thus one should not underestimate its importance.
Get Prepared for Writing Your Closing Statement
As well as any other legal document, a closing statement requires thorough preparation and a good plan. The first rule in writing a winning closing statement is to start working on it as soon as possible. Since some of the stages are pretty sophisticated and you may get stuck on them, it is better to have enough time for thorough planning, writing, and revising your document. Once you know the subject of your document well, you will need to collect as much information about this subject as possible. After you have collected all the relevant and accurate facts, you will need to create an outline, which will help you make your paper focused and comprehensive. Before you begin to write your closing statement, we highly recommend you have a look at some successful examples of closing statements. This strategy will help you figure out how long should your closing statement be, what elements it should include, how your closing statement should be structured, and many other points.
In the first stage of the writing process, you will need to develop the labels and themes you want to include in your closing statement. These labels will help you identify the main parties of the case and their claims. The themes you will mention in your closing statement will serve as emotional anchors. What is more, you will need to include the images that will be taken by the jury before going to the jury room. In your closing statement, you should try to appeal both to the reason and emotions of your target audience.
At the same time, you should know how to develop the theory of the case. It is the factual story that serves to support your side based upon the facts and arguments established in a trial. Keep in mind that your story should be consistent both with the undisputed evidence and your version of the facts that were disputed. In other words, this story should explain why people acted the way they did. If you fail to provide your own story, the jury will construct one without you. Most probably, it will accept the story of your opponent.
Then, you will need to create a trial notebook with a section in which you will put your closing statement. In this section, you will need to put everything related to your statement. For example, it may include all themes and labels related to the case, as well as appropriate stories, analogies, and ideas that serve as additional aids. Once you are done with this stage, you will need to periodically update your closing statement adjusting it to additional facts that appear during the writing process.
Next, you will need to brainstorm your ideas and receive a good scouting report on the judge. To do it successfully, you will need to answer the following questions:
- Does the judge have any standing orders with respect to closing statements?
- What rules of closing statement do they follow?
- How do they usually handle jury instructions?
By getting answers to these questions, you will be able to write a closing statement that will help you reach your goals.
After the evidence is in at the bench conference, you will need to ask the judge about something that is not included in your scouting report. This will help you find out which instructions of the jury will be taken into consideration by the judge. Besides, you will understand the time limit you will have for your closing statement.
Once your closing statement is written, you will need to read it aloud very carefully to understand if you used appropriate wording, if your story is appealing, and if it is clear from any logical flaws and inconsistencies. We strongly recommend you read it in front of your friends and ask them for objective feedback. This approach will help you polish your closing statement making sure it is done following the rules accepted in legal writing.
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Main Components of a Good-Looking Closing Statement
There are four main elements in each closing statement example regardless of its subject. These elements are pretty similar to the ones listed in the opening statement, though they also have distinctive features.
The first and the most important difference between these statements is that the closing statement is presented after the case. This means that all arguments and evidence have been heard. Consequently, it allows the attorney to speak more accurately about the case. The second difference is that a closing statement usually includes a rebuttal in which attorneys have the opportunity to argue the points of their opponents.
As for the main components of the closing statement, they are as follows:
- A detailed review of the important evidence presented in the case. Although one should present all the significant evidence included in the case, an attorney should limit themselves to the facts that are the most important;
- Arguments opposing the side of the opponent. If the opposing side has failed to address a significant element of the crime adequately, you will need to address this point as it will increase your chances to get the desired outcome;
- A rebuttal is a pretty short piece in which the attorney counters directly to the points claimed by another side. To help you achieve success, your rebuttal should be maximally natural and clear;
- An emotional appeal. If you have an emotional appeal related to the case, you will need to include it in your closing statement as it may affect the judge’s decision. You should understand that an emotional appeal can work effectively both for defense and prosecution.
Now, when you know what turns a closing statement into a unique piece, it is time to understand common mistakes, which do not allow attorneys to present perfect closing statements.
Mistakes You Should Avoid in Closing Statement Writing
If you want to find out how to write a closing statement of supreme quality, you should know how to avoid common mistakes. As well as in the opening statement, in closing statement writing there are some typical mistakes that should be avoided if you want to succeed with writing this document. The first mistake that is often committed is inappropriate quoting the opposing counsel’s argument. Although the quote can be a powerful tool in convincing your target audience, they will treat misquoting as an attempt to manipulate their opinion.
One more common mistake is referencing evidence that had been excluded via objection. For instance, if an attorney has a particular claim, but this claim was excluded because of an objection, it should be deleted from the record. The best way to avoid this mistake is to keep track of the process paying attention to all meaningless details.
We do hope that following our efficient suggestions, as well as avoiding common mistakes, will help you learn how to write a high-quality closing statement. However, if you do not have enough time or writing proficiency to work on this document, you should not feel ashamed of asking for a professional writing service. If you entrust your assignment to a legit writing service, you will not only save your time and get a good grade but you will also improve your legal writing skills, which will have a positive effect on your academic career.
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