Peterson: Opening Statements, Closing Arguments Critical in MDL Bellwether Trials

Shook Associate Torrey Peterson co-authored an article for the September 2022 issue of DRI’s For the Defense publication, on the importance of opening statements and closing arguments in multi-district litigation (MDL) bellwether trials.

Peterson explains why MDL bellwether trials are so critical and the role of opening statements and closing arguments. She also gives practical advice on how defense attorneys can most effectively make their case to juries.

In discussing closing arguments, Peterson notes:

“The only thing that you can control at trial is how you present the facts and make persuasive arguments about how and why the evidence supports your theme. Do not get ‘bogged down’ with what we have called ‘distractions’ – i.e., distractions from what the case is really about. This is plaintiff’s spin on the evidence. As you build your closing argument, here, insert hook: ‘trust the evidence, not the attorneys’ coupled with the supporting evidence to briefly ‘smack down’ the ‘spin’ and quickly turn to the evidence that best supports your theme."

Read the full article (PDF) >>