SJA banner

Every case has a theme-a short phrase or sentence that conjures up the entire episode. Like the refrain from a popular song, the theme should be short, memorable, and catchy: "Don't Worry. Be Happy." The theory of a case describes what happened, or more precisely, what you must prove or disprove in order to prevail is the theory. If you do not have a strong, memorable, persuasive, and-perhaps most important-provable theory, then you do not have a strong, memorable, persuasive or provable case. This lesson describes how to create a theme and theory for your case.
The opening statement is each party's opportunity to set the basic scene for the jurors/panel members. It is meant to grab the members' attention and make them want to hear the whole story; preview the evidence in accordance with your theory; persuade each member that your theory of the case is correct; and convince each member that your evidence should and will win the day. This video demonstrates how to deliver an effective opening statement.
The goal of direct examination is to elicit the witness's testimony in a clear and logical progression so that the trier of fact will understand, believe, and remember what was said. This video will help develop counsel's ability to conduct a clear and memorable direct examination. It focuses on both substance and style, as both are important in presenting a meaningful case, whether you represent the government or the accused.
If you struggle with cross examination, you are not alone. Few attorneys are naturally gifted at cross examination. Cross examination is a great opportunity to strengthen your own case and weaken the opponent's case by using your opponent's witness(s) to advance your theory of the case, support one of your witnesses, discredit the witness, or discredit another opponent's witness. This video demonstrates how to execute an effective cross-examination.
The old adage that we remember 10% of what we hear, 20% of what we see, and 30% of what we hear and see reflects a basic truth about adult learning: the more engaged we are in mentally processing information, the more of it we are likely to retain. Visual displays help to engage the listener and reinforce your message. Effective trial attorneys use every opportunity to depict the evidence in visual form so that the recipients will remember and understand their cases. This video demonstrates how to lay a proper foundation for a diagram and how to use it effectively.
The sole purpose of closing argument is to persuade the panel to do something, to motivate the panel to acquit or convict. Every word out of your mouth, every gesture, every movement about the courtroom should move the fact finder toward accepting your case theory as gospel. While the closing argument should sound as if it is spontaneously delivered, it should be carefully planned. This video demonstrates how to prepare and deliver an effective closing argument.
  • Contact Us
    US Army Reserve Command
    4710 Knox Street (AFRC-JA)
    Fort Bragg, NC 28310


    Administrative and Civil Law
    910-570-9004

    Contract and Fiscal Law
    910-570-8144

    Military Law Division
    910-570-8156

    National Security Law
    910-570-5922

    Ethics
    910-570-8138

    Email Us!

RESOURCES

» Please visit the U.S. Army Reserve Legal Command page.

» Please visit the U.S. Army JAG Corps page.

» Please visit the U.S. Army JAG Corps YouTube channel.

» U.S. Army Personnel Actions Guide (Requires CAC log-in)

» Please visit the JAGConnet-MJA16 MTT for MJA16 training products (Requires CAC log-in)