Persuasion at Trial: Opening Statements

The opening statement is a valuable contributor to the persuasion process at trial.  Through opening statements each side lets the jury know what evidence they will present and what this evidence is supposed to prove.  This is the primary opportunity for attorneys to present their positions to the jury prior to the introduction of the evidence upon which the jurors will base their decisions.  The critical feature of opening statements is that frameworks are advanced as to how jurors should view the case, an important component since jurors will process evidence in light of whichever framework they adopt.  Because information consistent with an adopted framework is generally more easily remembered than information contrary to the adopted framework, a major battle is won when the attorney gets the jury to view the evidence in the case from his or her perspective.

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