Sunday, October 15, 2017


You can find historic and outstanding openings and closings in this book: In the Interest of Justice – Great Opening and Closing Arguments of the Last 100 Years, HarperCollins Publishers, which was reviewed here in August of 2009. When you set out to craft your opening statement or closing argument, it is always helpful to refer to outstanding opening statements and closing arguments from the past, and this book provides them and continues to be an excellent resource.

--> The author of In the Interests of Justice is Joel J. Seidemann, Adjunct Professor at Pace Law School and Senior Trial Counsel in the New York County Attorneys Office. Professor Seidemann’s book contains excerpts from transcripts that meet Mr. Sideman’s two prerequisites. The selected cases are very high profile, including, among others, the trials of: O. J. Simpson; Marv Albert; Sean Puff Daddy Combs; Adolf Eichmann; Martha Stewart; John Scopes; Amadou Diallo; Timothy McVeigh. Second, the advocacy in these cases also satisfies the excellence test, with the lawyers demonstrating how to effectively use these devices: storytelling; analogies; phrasing; humor; pathos; logic; themes and so much more.
Joel J. Seidemann

Beyond satisfying these two requirements, Mr. Seidemann arranged the material in ways that are both entertaining and educational. For example, he juxtaposed Daniel Petrocelli’s opening statement for the plaintiff in the O. J. Simpson civil trial against Johnnie Cochran’s closing in the criminal case showing how two fine trial advocates can work the same case. Further, Mr. Seidemann provides well-written introductory overviews setting the stages for the transcripts of the openings and closings as well as thoughtful postscripts describing case outcomes and providing thoughtful commentary on the cases and trial work by the lawyers.

This book continues to be a wonderful resource for trial lawyers, professors looking for illustrations of superb openings and closing and law students who are taking trial advocacy classes.

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