Week 4: Focus on Opening Statements and Closing Arguments
Week 4: Focus on Opening Statements and Closing Arguments
Hannah Klonowski, Stetson University
On Wednesday and Thursday, I was out of the office all day to compete at the 49th Annual Robert Orseck Moot Court Competition. The Orseck Moot Court Competition is hosted in conjunction with the Florida Bar Convention, so all of the competitors are judged by Florida lawyers and District Courts of Appeals judges up until the final round. My teammates and I worked very hard in preparation for this competition and it definitely paid off. We won the competition, with the final round being judged by the justices of the entire Florida Supreme Court. I am so grateful that all of our hard work paid off and we learned so much throughout the course of the competition. And I am also so thankful to everyone at the firm who came to see me argue and support my team–I really appreciated it!
Mary Hudson, University of Florida
We started the week with the opening and closing statements seminar in preparation for the workshop in Tampa later in the week. Between prepping for the workshop, the Orlando summer associates enjoyed a few social events including an Inn of Court dinner with partner Lan Kennedy-Davis and of counsel Brad Davis. The three Orlando summer associates carpooled to Tampa together for the workshop and that allowed for us to chat and get to know each other a little better.
Although I was nervous, I delivered my closing statement and felt proud when I was finished. The feedback I received was helpful to knowing which of my techniques seemed to resonate with the “jurors” and which ones were confusing, unclear, or unhelpful. Seeing the other summer associates and their techniques and approaches was illuminating as well. Even though we were all working from the same fact pattern, each one of us utilized the facts a little differently and it was beneficial to see their thought processes play out.
Jordan Benatar, University of Florida
Week four was the most action-packed week thus far this summer. First, I conducted research for partner Doug Ede and associate Loren Korkin’s presentation on arbitration for the South Florida Association of Corporate Counsel. Because of my help on the project, I was invited to attend the event at the Hard Rock in Fort Lauderdale (and they even included my name on the presentation!). Later in the week, Evan and I headed to Tampa Bay to do our mock opening and closing statements in front of partner Rob Blank and others at the Tampa office. I am very thankful to RumbergerKirk for taking the time to set up these workshops for the summer associates, allowing us to gain valuable experience when the stakes aren’t so high.
Ella Biggins, Florida State University
We are almost halfway through the summer, and time is flying by. This was my busiest week yet with a seminar, multiple workshops, new projects, and a visit from the other summer associates! We learned from partner Rob Blank about what juries look for in opening and closing statements. Presenting to a judge requires a totally different skillset than presenting to a jury. Most lawyers must have a keen ability to do both.
On Friday, the other six summer associates visited the Tampa Office for our Opening/Closing Statement Workshop. It was great to see everyone and swap stories from our first couple of weeks in the different offices. We each presented an opening or closing statement. This was a nerve racking experience, but also highly rewarding. We got practice preparing our statements, which gives us a baseline for when we actually need to do this for the first time in practice. This workshop also gave us the opportunity to develop our own styles as trial attorneys. I was thoroughly impressed by all of the other summer associates. It is great to be around colleagues who are so bright and challenge you to sharpen your skills. Afterwards, we celebrated our progress with some of the Tampa attorneys over sangria at the Columbia Restaurant. Next week will get even busier, since our writing competition prompt will be released.
Chris Jablonski, Washington and Lee University
Week four was my busiest week thus far. It was filled with new assignments, two fun events, and two workshops. I am still shocked I was able to get it all done. First, I worked on and completed a new research assignment from partner Damien Orato. For this assignment, I took a deep dive into two new topics— the admissibility of prior convictions and potential juror striking. Being able to gain in-depth knowledge about different areas of the law has been very rewarding and one of my favorite parts of working at RumbergerKirk.
Evan Thomas, Florida International University
On Friday, we had a our opening statement and closing argument workshop. Closing arguments are somewhat familiar to me as I am a member of FIU Law’s Trial Team, however, the workshop was still nerve-wracking. I was surprised to see all of the different styles my fellow summer associates had when they gave their closing arguments. Between observing these different styles and receiving feedback from the attorneys in the Tampa office, I learned a lot. To celebrate our hard work on this workshop, the Tampa attorneys took us to the Columbia Restaurant for lunch and sangria.
Madison Buckley, University of Florida
This week I met my match: case review at the attorney lunch, plus to-back opening statements & closing arguments in Tampa! While the case review was moved to a virtual lunch thanks to Covid, it does make me that much more grateful that we get to be in the office this summer and not totally online the whole time. Plus, the conference room still makes a great place for a selfie!
The case review ended up being a lot of fun, I got to pick new cases that are relevant to the work we do here at the firm and explain the cases and why they are important. Plus, I think I ended up doing a good job which always feels satisfying and I learned a lot about my public speaking skills. Everything I’ve been doing this summer is a learning experience which is awesome—I really feel like a sponge soaking up everything I can, even when that means learning from constructive criticism.