Publication Title

De Novo

Document Type



A basic rule of trial practice is that a lawyer cannot argue in opening statement. A lawyer who breaks this rule runs the risk of drawing an objection from opposing counsel and having it sustained by the judge. Of course, as with most rules of trial practice, a lawyer can get away with de minimus violations in most cases and wholesale disregard in cases where opposing counsel—whether as a result of inexperience, inattention or trial strategy—doesn’t object. Although simple in concept, lawyers commonly falter in practical application of the “no argument” rule in two ways: 1) failing to understand what “argument” is, and 2) failing to appreciate that argument is not the most persuasive tool in opening statement, even if they can get away with it.

Included in

Litigation Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.