Ah, early summer! Bluebonnets. Commencement speeches. The start of a new season. And now that I’m a full-time law professor, counseling students in trial competitions. Memories of trials past triggering memories of closing arguments past. Here, then, is a column on suggestions for your next closing argument.

Suggestion No. 1: Skip the Throat Clearing

At a closing’s start, toss unnecessary “throat clearing.” It comes in two flavors: excessive gratitude and personal stories. A sample of the first: “Thank you for your service on this jury. It is a great privilege to serve, is it not? So few countries have the jury system” and on and on. The second is a too personal story with lawyers hoping to endear themselves to the jury. “Today is the first day of school and I walked my daughter to school because we need to keep what is important in mind,” and on and on; or “I may seem a little sleepy this morning. Well, I have a new baby and you know how that is, but I will try to focus and help you understand the case …” and on and on. True stories both. Try this: “At the start of this trial, my team and I promised we would not waste your time during it. I hope we kept that promise.” And then onto the case at hand.

Suggestion No. 2: Remind, Never Lecture