Cogent Legal

How to Guide the Jury Through the Verdict Form in Closing Argument

layersIn closing argument, it can be effective to show the jury the verdict form and tell them how you hope they fill it out. This technique is particularly important when the jury will face a complicated, multi-page special verdict form—introducing the jury to the form may avoid errors that will be costly to clarify later.

Below is a sample verdict form for a trade secret case (adapted from the General Verdict form VF-5001 in the Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (“CACI”):completed verdict form for trade secret

In this post, I’ll provide an example of what an attorney might be saying as this graphic builds during closing argument. For the tech-lovers among our readers, I’ll also talk a bit about the use of Adobe Illustrator to create the graphic.


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