The ultimate goal of every trial lawyer is to secure the best possible result for her client. To accomplish this goal, the lawyer must find a way to capture the jury’s attention and to leave an impression that will last well into deliberations. One effective approach is for the lawyer to identify and emphasize key words or phrases that best frame an issue, work those words or phrases into cross-examination and emphasize that frame during final argument. (For an in-depth study of case framing, see Mark Mandell’s Case Framing, published by AAJ Press.)

Clearly, the emphasis for the frame can start during jury selection, but the selected fact is really brought to life during the cross-examination or adverse direct of a party which, some trial lawyers would argue, is tantamount to cross-examination. The way in which the frame is brought out through words and phrases should not only serve to emphasize that individual fact during cross-examination but should also create broader implications for an even more important argument during summation.

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