As the last chance for a plaintiff’s attorney to speak to a jury before deliberations, a powerful closing rebuttal can be critical. And in a recent CVN webinar on closing techniques that led to a quartet of blockbuster verdicts, Fried Goldberg’s Joseph Fried detailed what he considers one of the most important considerations in preparing points for rebuttal.
“I think it’s a mistake to feel like you’ve got to rebut every single thing that the defense says, because what happens is that it becomes more about them, than the case you’ve put on,” Fried said. “I think what you want to do is pick some things that, as you’re rebutting them, what you’re really doing is showing that they’re being gamey, that they’re being unfair, that they don’t deserve the credibility in the case, that they’re trying to mislead the jury, that they’re not worthy of being followed.”
For example, during closing rebuttal of a trial over the traumatic brain injury a woman suffered in a fall from a paratransit bus, Fried highlighted the defense argument that, in light of the accident, the woman, Jaccolah Johnson, would not live as long as mortality tables predicted. “If they want a discount because Ms. Johnson is not going to live as long because they injured her brain, that doesn’t seem right, either, does it?” Fried asked jurors.
That rebuttal set up a $25 million verdict, and an $18.75 million award after the transit defendant was found 75% responsible.
Highlighting those types of defense arguments can be useful in arguing differences in credibility, Michael Goldberg, who tried that case with Fried, added. “It’s those things that defense lawyers like to talk about that are great technical arguments, [but] juries look at people like ‘I can’t believe that guy argued that,’” Goldberg said. “Don’t fight it. It’s a gift. Enjoy it and use it for what it’s worth.”
The discussion was part of CVN’s webinar “The Art of the Close,” featuring Fried, Goldberg, Brad Thomas, and Eric Rogers, breaking down the closing techniques that keyed a quartet of 7 and 8-figure verdicts for the firm across a range of cases.
The two-hour webinar covers a range of topics, including powerful approaches to telling your client’s damages story, the most effective ways to focus on rules violations, and much more.
It’s fully indexed, on-demand, and part of CVN Discovery, an ever-expanding collection featuring hours of webinars and interviews from the nation's top attorneys on both sides of the courtroom. It's a deep dive into the proven techniques that win trials.
And it's included free with CVN's unrivaled trial video library.
Email Arlin Crisco at email@example.com.
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