Friday, October 31, 2003

Closing, and then waiting.....

My favorite part of a case is closing. I love getting up there and letting it all hang out. I love breaking a case down, finding little details that the other side has missed out on, that the jury didn't notice, and pointing out how they support my cause. I love pulling together all of the little questions that I asked that seemed to make no sense, and putting them together in a coherent story that breaks down the prosecution's case little by little.

Closing is also great because it is frequently the only time in a case where a client likes me. During cross examination, they wonder why I don't ask other questions, during the prosecution's case, they wonder why I allow witnesses to say bad things about them (like that they shot someone, or beat someone up, or robbed someone). But, after closing, they love me. This is the first time in many of their lives that they've ever had someone stand up in front of a group and defend them, or even say good things about them.

I love doing closing arguments, and I think I'm pretty good at them now. But, the worst part of closing is finishing. You see, after I finish, in California the prosecution has the right to go after me. They get the last word, and that kills me to listen to it. First of all, I remember all of the things that I wanted to say in my closing and forgot to say (you will not find a lawyer in the world who hasn't forgottent things in their closing). Also, I can't respond to some of their specious, or even good, arguments. Finally, I just hate the loss of control. No one wants to let someone else get the last word, and that's what has to happen (except in my previous trial, where, for the first time ever, the prosecution waived their final closing argument) all the time.

Then comes the waiting. I have always been terrible at waiting for results. In school (every school up through law school), I never got nervous for tests, only for the results. In trial I almost never get nervous for triall, but I do get nervous for verdicts. Nothing is more wrenching than watching the foreperson hand the bailiff the verdict forms, who gives them to the judge, who gives them to the clerk to read. That just kills me.

And right now, I'm in the waiting game. Wish me luck. I could win, I could lose, it really could go either way, but I feel, in my gut, that the longer it takes the worse it is. And it has been the whole morning already, so I can only fear for the worst.

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