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Voir Dire and Opening Statements: Influencing the Jury During and Immediately After Selection

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will provide litigators with critical tools for preparing voir dire and opening statements. Trial lawyers have the opportunity to influence potential jurors through creative and effective voir dire. Opening statements then allow the attorney to set the stage for the rest of the trial. The panel will offer specific advanced techniques for both.


Winning a jury trial means winning over the jury. The trial lawyer's relationship with the jury begins when the first potential juror walks into court for voir dire. When an attorney speaks the first words of opening argument, those words not only set the tone for the entire trial but are a continuation of the dialogue with the jury started during selection.

The purpose of voir dire is to select a jury, and the trial lawyer must be familiar with the latest methods for favorable selection (and be wary of selection techniques or patterns that may run afoul of discrimination law). But, voir dire also is a chance to plant thoughts in juror's minds that can be nourished and grown during the trial.

Likewise, though opening statements have a purpose--to introduce the jury to the case--an opening that does only that is a missed opportunity. An effective opening statement creates a theme and makes commitments that will conclude with the closing argument. Of particular interest is the defense opening statement, as it is all the jury will hear from the defense until the trial is half over.

Listen as our panel of litigators discusses essential techniques in conducting voir dire and preparing opening statements, and best practices for using a variety of techniques at this stage of the trial.



  1. Voir dire strategies and techniques
  2. Jury panel
    1. Use of a questionnaire
    2. Weeding out jurors
    3. Tainted jurors
    4. Obtaining adequate time to conduct meaningful examinations
    5. Using focus jury data in voir dire
  3. Ethical Considerations: Proper Use of Social Media and Batson Challenges
  4. Opening statement: preparation and components
    1. Telling a story
    2. Use of graphics
    3. Taking the sting out of the opposing side versus the devastating power of early admissions
    4. Avoiding exaggerations and misrepresentations
    5. Using focus jury data in opening argument
    6. Know the judge


The panel will review these and other priority questions:

  • What are key strategies in preparing opening statements?
  • What are the best practices in conducting voir dire?
  • How can the litigator best use the opening statement to take the sting out of the opposing side's case?


O'Neill, Timothy
Timothy G. (Tim) O'Neill

Snell & Wilmer

Mr. O'Neill's national litigation practice focuses on complex business litigation, commercial disputes and...  |  Read More

Pyers, Zachary
Zachary B. Pyers


Mr. Pyers litigates complex commercial, professional liability, tort, and class action matters. He represents clients...  |  Read More

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