The Theory of the Case

Michigan Bar Journal, Vol.100, No 3 p.38-39

2 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2021

Date Written: October 14, 2020


Preparation is the key to success at trial. The first step is to prepare a theory of the case. The theory is a persuasive explanation of events at issue in your case. The trial lawyer should construct a theory on uncontested facts. As you proceed with preparation keep developing more theories until you have found the best one.

Next, develop a theme: a one sentence summary of your theory. The theory of the case is the basic underlying idea that explains the legal theory and factual background. It ties the evidence into a coherent and credible whole. The opening statement is where to start. For example, "This is a case about a broken promise."

A good theory provides a comfortable viewpoint from which the jury can look at all the evidence. It is the hallmark of a consummate advocate.

Keywords: Trial Practice, Litigation, Opening Statement, Jury

Suggested Citation

Johnson, James A., The Theory of the Case (October 14, 2020). Michigan Bar Journal, Vol.100, No 3 p.38-39, Available at SSRN:

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