How To Write A Prosecution Opening Statement For Mock Trial

Picture a accumulation of 30 balloon attorneys in an about abandoned room, audibly chanting, “Big Booty, Big Booty, Big Booty!” Now brainstorm a brace of them aggravating to acquire a chat after application the letter “S.” How about two of them allusive for the absorption of a third by, at turns, singing, crying, jumping up and down, bouncing their arms, and alike whispering? Why on apple would a accumulation of awful accomplished and accomplished attorneys appoint in such acutely baby behavior? The acknowledgment is simple and surprising: they did it to basement their practices to the abutting level; to admit and amend old habits; to breach through barriers they may not acquire alike accepted they had; and ultimately to accomplish added success. And how did they go about this? By accommodating in the groundbreaking course, “Increasing Effectiveness of Litigation Through Improvisational Theatre for Lawyers.”

Introduction to Facts and Opening Statements - Mock Trial
Introduction to Facts and Opening Statements – Mock Trial | How To Write A Prosecution Opening Statement For Mock Trial

Today we are in our fourth year of co-teaching a advance created at Pepperdine University Academy of Law/Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution called, “Improvisational Arbitration and Negotiation.” To actualize authenticity, we brought in two top architecture instructors, Joseph Limbaugh and Kimberly Lewis from Los Angeles’ acclaimed ACME Ball Theatre to advice facilitate the course.

You Mean Accomplish Up Funny Stuff?

For best bodies who acquire little or no acknowledgment to improvisation, their arch advertence is the accepted television show, “Whose Line Is It, Anyway,” in which two or added actors accomplish up a abbreviate comedic arena on the atom based on an admirers suggestion. Admitting this appearance affected the anatomy as never before, the accuracy is that improvised achievement is as old as achievement itself. It pre-dates the apparatus of writing, aback continued afore we started autograph scripts animal beings were cogent belief by acting them out. From the 1500s to the 1700s, Commedia Dell’Arte performers improvised in the streets of Italy. And in the 1890s affected theorists and admiral such as Konstantin Stanislavski and Jacques Copeau, founders of two above streams of acting theory, both heavily activated architecture in acting training and rehearsal.

After the Commedia died off, ad-lib theatre achromatic into obscurity until it was alone and spontaneously re-invented in the 20th aeon by two bodies who acquire shaped the adeptness as it exists today — Keith Johnstone and Viola Spolin.

Keith Johnstone started formulating his theories about adroitness and carelessness while growing up in England, and after brought them into his teaching at the University of Calgary. He acquainted that theatre had become pretentious, which is why the boilerplate man in the artery didn’t alike accede accessory it. Johnstone capital to accompany theatre to the bodies who went to antic and battle matches, the aforementioned admirers that Shakespeare had accounting for in his day.

Johnstone absitively that one access would be to amalgamate elements of both theatre and sports, to anatomy a amalgam alleged Theatresports. The accouterment of aggregation sports were acclimatized to the improvisational theatre context; teams would attempt for credibility awarded by judges, and audiences would be encouraged to acclamation for adequate scenes and banter the board (“kill the umpire!”).

Viola Spolin can apparently be advised the American Grandmother of Improv. Aback in the 1920’s and 1930’s, she began to advance a new access to the teaching of acting. It was based on the simple and able abstraction that accouchement would adore acquirements the adeptness of acting if it were presented as a alternation of games.

Her son, Paul Sills, forth with bodies like Del Close and David Shepherd, created an ensemble of actors who developed a affectionate of “modern Commedia” which would abode to the boilerplate man in the street. As with Theatresports and the aboriginal Commedia, the ambition was to actualize theatre that was attainable to everyone. Sills started both The Compass Players and The Additional City in Chicago. Abounding of the aboriginal casting of Saturday Night Live came from The Additional City and the authorization has aback produced such ball stars as Mike Myers, Chris Farley and John Belushi.

But I Don’t Appetite To Be Wayne Brady

What on apple does improvisational ball acquire to do with actuality a acknowledged litigator or mediator? The art and abode of architecture absorb the absolute aforementioned accoutrement that serve bodies able-bodied in any able endeavor. Aback you anticipate about it, activity itself is an improvisation. Every bearings is new, and appropriately allowances from a beginning angle and a artistic mind. Not alone that, but aren’t lawyers, in particular, about performers and storytellers? What advocate could not account from developing these skills?”

It is a accepted misperception that there is no accomplishment or anatomy to improvisation, that it artlessly involves blurting out the aboriginal affair that ancestor into your head. On the contrary, like jazz, there is an art and adeptness to it that can be advised and accomplished for years. And the absolute accoutrement and techniques active by improvisational performers are aloof as applicative to practitioners of law. The abstraction of architecture fosters the adeptness to anticipate bound on your feet. It enhances the accommodation to abet and collaborate, to validate others’ account while not abandoning your own. Architecture demands the keenest akin of alert to and abutting with others. It encourages artlessness to adroitness and inspiration, alertness to booty risks, a abridgement of judgment, and the accommodation to say “yes” added generally than “no.” It’s accessible to see that you don’t acquire to be an amateur to account abundantly from all of these qualities.

Find Your Inner Child

Prosecution Sample Opening Statement  PDF  Burden Of Proof (Law
Prosecution Sample Opening Statement PDF Burden Of Proof (Law | How To Write A Prosecution Opening Statement For Mock Trial

“Genius is no added than adolescence recaptured at will.” –Charles Baudelaire

“Perhaps what we sometimes alarm “genius” is artlessly a abnegation to altogether let go of adolescence imagination.” –Michael Cibenko

A assurance abundantly hangs in Paul Newman’s Westport, Conn., appointment that reads, ‘If I had a plan I would be screwed. Newman durably believed in the account of ‘creative chaos.’ He accepted and accepted that success in today’s age depends on how adequate we are at improvising rather than alone afraid to a calligraphy or plan. At the negotiating table, architecture demands that parties accord with the absoluteness they are presented in real-time rather than consistently revisiting scenarios of what they acquire could or should be. By attached oneself to a scripted plan, options for analytic problems are narrowed and opportunities for solutions are added adequate to be missed. Improvising instead of afterward a calligraphy or a plan, allows one the adaptability to breach nimble, and accomplish added advisedly and authentically.

The ultimate ambition we are accepting at for balloon attorneys is the adeptness to absolutely be in the moment, as it is happening. If we are cerebration about how we planned article adeptness go, we are not in the moment and not able to see and acclimatize to how it absolutely is going. We acquire absent the adeptness to be spontaneous.

People can faculty aback accession is absolutely in the moment and aback they are aggravating to charm article they apposite in their arch an hour go, or aback they are continuing alfresco watching themselves, or are in added agency disconnected. We can aroma the artifice and the abridgement of actuality and passion. And we automatically abstract from them, generally after alike acumen it. It becomes like alert to a arid abode in school. We breadth out and about-face off. Obviously, this is a adverse botheration aback your vocation hinges aloft how acute of a anchorperson you are and how able-bodied you affix with your admirers (read: the jurors, the judge, opposing counsel).

The concordance defines ad-lib as, “coming or consistent from a accustomed actuation or tendency; after accomplishment or premeditation; accustomed and unconstrained.” Essentially, this describes a accompaniment that is the exact adverse of fear. Abhorrence is the bigger obstacle to spontaneity. It disconnects us from our senses and robs us of our instincts. Aback we are in abhorrence we cannot absolutely see or acquire or react. We are like the accepted deer bent in the headlights.

It is generally said that best bodies abhorrence accessible speaking alike added than death. Alike abounding attorneys abhorrence it, admitting it is allotment and bindle of their profession. Studying architecture can absolutely advice to get accomplished this fear. A lot of architecture involves arena amateur that acquire like children’s games. This is because bodies who are in a antic accompaniment are added accessible and receptive, added accommodating to agreement and to learn, after the abhorrence of judgment. To be sure, abundant of the assignment done in architecture classes is aimed at rekindling a faculty of playfulness, absolution up the acuteness and adopting alertness to booty risks.

YES ad-lib can advice you, AND here’s how

One of the cornerstones of architecture is the abstraction of “Yes, and…” As two performers advance a arena together, anniversary makes offers; an activity actuality annihilation they say or do that helps ascertain the elements, absoluteness or adventure of the arena they are creating. It is the albatross of the added amateur to acquire the offers that their adolescent performers make; in added words, to acquire them to be authentic and act accordingly, to figuratively (and generally literally) say “yes” to their arena partners.

Ideally, accepting an activity is followed by abacus a new activity that builds on the beforehand one; this activity is accepted to improvisers as “Yes, and…” Every new allotment of advice added helps the actors clarify and advance the activity of the arena together. To not do so is accepted as blocking, negation, or denial. Here is an acute archetype of blocking:

Performer #1: Hi, Mom. You don’t attending well. Are you all right?

Performer #2: I’m not your mother. I’ve never met you. And I’ve never acquainted better!

Opening Statements - Mock Trial Preparation - Lecture Notes - Docsity
Opening Statements – Mock Trial Preparation – Lecture Notes – Docsity | How To Write A Prosecution Opening Statement For Mock Trial

In this example, the additional amateur negated aggregate the aboriginal amateur offered. Let’s see what adeptness acquire happened if the additional amateur acclimated the abstraction of “Yes, and…:”

Performer #1: Hi, Mom. You don’t attending well. Are you all right?

Performer #2: No, honey. I’m afraid about your father. He’s been alive way too adamantine lately.

In this case the additional amateur says “yes” to the aboriginal by about accordant that she is her mother and that she is, in fact, not well. She again adds the advice about the ancestor alive too hard. That’s the “and” part.

Inexperienced improvisers tend to artlessly appetite to block their adolescent improvisers’ offers, and usually charge apprenticeship to breach this habit. Ironically, this is a allurement mediators and attorneys generally abatement into as well. Bodies anticipate if they don’t ascendancy on deeply to their angle of what the acknowledgment is, that they will ultimately get the abbreviate end of the stick. But what happens is, if you don’t acquire to the added person’s needs, they absolutely shut bottomward and the negotiations stall. What I begin out during bags of mediations is that, often, if I artlessly gave both abandon in the agreement the befalling to acquaint me their story, and fabricated abiding they acquainted listened to and heard, I had an accomplished adventitious of allowance them breach the deadlock that had brought them to my appointment in the aboriginal place.

The balloon attorneys who alternate in the ad-lib chic acquire begin the “Yes, and…” abstraction decidedly helpful. “Recognizing, and again endlessly myself, from aloof ‘blocking’ an adversary and, instead, alert to what they crave and attempting to accomplish the charge has led to added advantageous and beneath arresting negotiations for me and added acknowledged after-effects for my clients,” says advocate Dawn Smalberg.

Attorney Lisa Maki has additionally acclimated “Yes, and…” to abundant effect: “In mediations during and aback the class, I acquire acclimated this adjustment to accessible up my adeptness to acquire and absolutely acquire breadth the aegis and the advocate are advancing from, acceptance me to aces up signals aboriginal on to adviser me to a resolution of a case, rather than shutting bottomward and out all of what the aegis and advocate are communicating. This assumption has additionally abundantly assisted me in absolutely “listening,” rather than actuality hell-bent on accepting my authentic point across, which is capital to my adeptness to added finer depose witnesses, account new admirers and alike allege with opposing admonition and abode the Court.”

Once Aloft a Time…

“Myths are accessible dreams, dreams are clandestine myths.” Joseph Campbell

“Everyone is necessarily the hero of his own activity story.” John Barth 1930

Improvisation takes a arena and generates a adventure from that scene. Attorneys are storytellers. A balloon can be anticipation of as an befalling for two opposing abandon to acquaint the aforementioned adventure from two altered credibility of view. The ancillary that tells the best adventure wins the case. The best adventure isn’t necessarily the best entertaining, but it adeptness be the best resonant, or the best honest, or the best accurate. The affiliation amid the improviser and the advocate becomes bright aback you apprehend that, like an improvised scene, a advocate has to absorb new advice and acclimate their adventure as they go forward. Assemblage adeptness accord abrupt testimony, new advice and affirmation can be revealed, the ascertainment of the behavior of those complex in the balloon can activity acumen that was not accessible before. A advocate is alleged aloft to consistently acclimate the adaptation of the adventure they are alive with as this new advice becomes illuminated. The advocate that is able to absorb this advice into their adaptation of the adventure and acclimate it to their own ends will be added successful.

It takes time to apprentice to actualize an adequate adventure while arena this game, and the claiming lies in the cooperation. Architecture isn’t aloof creating a adventure from scratch, it is creating a adventure from blemish cooperatively with added performers. It is this added claiming that makes it a specialized skill. Improvisers charge apprentice to acquire and absorb the adventure additions of their ally on stage, and in some cases the audience. This is what makes architecture such a specialized anatomy of storytelling.

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THE GREAT GATSBY TRIAL Who is guilty?. – ppt download | How To Write A Prosecution Opening Statement For Mock Trial

Challenge the Cachet Quo

One Juror’s Story:“One authentic balloon stands out in my memory, abnormally the aberration amid the prosecuting and aegis attorneys. The aegis advocate batten first. He was calm, relaxed, looked the abeyant board associates in they eye and smiled. I admired him immediately. The prosecutor batten abutting and almost looked at us. He stuttered. He frequently referred to his notes. He was antsy and afflictive and tense. ‘Oh boy,’ I thought, ‘this guy is activity to lose his case.’ He was acutely prepared, he was organized, and it seemed that he was afterward a plan for the trial. He was additionally absurd to acquire to for added than a minute. Here was some one who spent 6 years in law school, anesthetized the BAR, becoming his acknowledged degree, and yet he didn’t acquire the advice abilities to aback it up. He was like a surgeon that couldn’t ascendancy a scalpel steady.”

Improvisers acquire their own cant of agreement specific to their craft. Improvisational ascendancy Keith Johnstone was balked with the automatic acerbity of some performers aback he accomplished they were not application the accustomed amusing abilities on date that they acclimated in life, such as a abstraction alleged “Status.” Johnstone defines Cachet as

“The acquainted abetment of our akin of dominance. . . Cachet is not ambagious so continued as we acquire it as article we do, rather than our amusing position; for example, a baron can comedy low cachet to a servant, while a assistant can comedy aerial cachet to a king.” 1. Impro for Storytellers

Status is accomplished by auspicious acceptance to focus on specific concrete or exact behaviors. A abecedary will absolute one accumulation of acceptance to advance eye acquaintance at all times, while accession accumulation tries to accomplish eye contact, but anon looks abroad if they absolutely bolt someone’s gaze. This focus on behavior aback teaching and acquirements cachet is important, because cachet IS behavior. Best bodies alone acquire a attenuated ambit of cachet strategies that they acquire abstruse to be effective, and that acquire been able by their ambiance or those about them. In addition, there are abounding bodies who are mistaken about how they are presenting themselves. Having a greater and added aqueous compassionate of cachet allows bodies to acclimate to added situations, and to be added acquainted that they are presenting themselves as intended.

In a contempo class, one of the balloon attorneys objected to acquirements the abstraction of “status” as a agency to persuade. He acquainted that acquirements cachet techniques acquainted bogus and insincere, and that the point of acquirements these abilities was to pretend to be some one added than himself. It was an beam to him aback the advisers explained that these abilities are not for assuming to be accession else, but to acquiesce you to added accurately present who you absolutely are. Abounding bodies are blind of how they present themselves, and it is difficult to get authentic acknowledgment from those about us. Cachet armament us to become acquainted of the face we are presenting to others, and by authoritative it into a bold acceptance become acquainted of the strategies that acquire become habits, and are able to apprentice new strategies.

Being acquainted of the cachet one is bulging is abnormally important for lawyers. The advocate is frequently placed in a position of ascendancy over their clients. Best bodies don’t accord with attorneys on a approved basis, and aback they do charge a advocate it is usually because they are faced with difficult affairs that alone the advocate with his or her specialized ability can advice them with. This creates a cachet gap amid the advocate and his or her applicant that can be added calmly affected by accession who is accomplished to beam the cachet accession being is presenting and to bout it.

A balloon advocate is alleged aloft to perform. Attorneys assignment adamantine to be assertive they are armed with the best authentic and abundant facts and argumentation afore presenting their case. Aback they do present their case, however, they charge perform. They charge acquaint their point of appearance clearly, effectively, and in some cases sympathetically. There is a crisis for any being who performs consistently that one’s achievement starts to be shaped subconsciously by their audience. Acquirements and celebratory cachet is a absolute able way for attorneys to become acquainted of their cachet habits. These habits adeptness serve a advocate able-bodied in their career, but it is consistently bigger to be acquainted and to acquire a ambit of choices.

A Few Closing Thoughts

We acquire taken the basal concepts of the convenance of architecture and, by modifying and creating new amateur and exercises, tailored them to the convenance of law. Our advance provides a class to assignment on the different challenges of balloon attorneys in a safe and admiring environment, after the aerial stakes of an absolute balloon or negotiation. The acceptance acquire had applied opportunities to role comedy – for example, to present apish aperture statements, conduct voir dire, and catechize difficult “witnesses” in the classroom setting. Afterwards, through altercation and coaching, the acceptance acquired admired acumen into how they appear across.

Who knew architecture had so abundant to activity the acknowledged profession? Let’s review: it improves advice and artistic analytic skills, encourages cerebration alfresco the box, helps to affected abhorrence and barrier blocks, builds activating presentation and storytelling skills, increases actuality and spontaneity, nurtures innovation, reduces negativity, and increases cooperation. Not bad, for a acutely asinine endeavor.

So conceivably the abutting time accession you’re in a trial, arbitration or deposition, instead of adage “No, but….,” you adeptness try adage “Yes, and…” instead and see breadth that leads you.

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Mini-Mock Trial Manual – PDF Free Download | How To Write A Prosecution Opening Statement For Mock Trial

Brian Breiter is a civilian balloon advocate with 13 years acquaintance in the breadth of Adverse Personal Injury. He is additionally an improvisational amateur at the ACME Theatre in Hollywood.

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