Does your case have a title?

In the Perry Mason TV show, every episode had a title.  That quick and easy shortcut let the viewers know what the case was about, and helped them quickly and easily understand why Perry was involved.  Here are some examples of the episode titles:

  • Perry MasonThe Case of the Nervous Accomplice
  • The Case of the Silent Partner
  • The Case of the Angry Mourner
  • The Case of the Runaway Corpse
  • The Case of the One-Eyed Witness
  • The Case of the Deadly Double
  • The Case of the Half-Wakened Wife
  • The Case of the Desperate Daughter
  • The Case of the Buried Clock
  • The Case of the Deadly Toy
  • The Case of the Golden Fraud
  • The Case of the Artful Dodger
  • The Case of the Wayward Wife
  • The Case of the Ill-Fated Faker
  • The Case of the Angry Dead Man
  • The Case of the Impatient Partner
  • The Case of the Left-Handed Liar
  • The Case of the Tarnished Trademark
  • The Case of the Angry Astronaut (that was actually prosecuted in my courthouse…  Does the name “Lisa Nowak” ring a bell?)
  • The Case of the Bogus Books
  • The Case of the Witless Witness
  • The Case of the Bigamous Spouse
  • The Case of the Careless Kidnapper
  • The Case of the Frustrated Folksinger
  • The Case of the Fatal Fetish
  • The Case of the Deadly Debt
  • The Case of the Vanishing Victim
  • The Case of the Murdered Madam
  • The Case of the Lethal Lesson
  • The Case of the Poisoned Pen
  • The Case of the Fatal Framing
  • The Case of the Lethal Lifestyle

The great thing about these episode titles is that they give you a shortcut for framing the entire case.  In an instant, you know what the case is about, and can make quick determinations about how to focus your cross-examinations, what to emphasize during direct examinations, and what story to tell during opening statement and closing arguments.

Right now, take half an hour out of your schedule and invest the time to identify the title of your case.  When thinking of your case title, ask yourself: “What is your case about?  Where should the jury focus their attention?  Who should they blame?”  Here are some examples:

  • The Case of the Indifferent Driver
  • The Case of the Greedy Contractor
  • The Case of the Careless Homeowner
  • The Case of the Police Officer who Jumped to Conclusions
  • The Case of the Text-Messaging Driver
  • The Case of the Pedestrian Who Refused to Look Where He was Going
  • The Case of the Mistaken Assumption

You don’t necessarily need to tell the jurors about your title.  You can keep the title in your head and use it as a guide to help your case preparation or to help streamline your presentation.  Regardless of whether you share the title of your case with others or not, take the time right now to create your title.  You’ll be glad you did!

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5 thoughts on “Does your case have a title?

  1. To date, all “tips” have been very helpful, if not inspirational.

    Thanks, and keep up the great work.

  2. I’ve never been a fan of announcing in opening statement a title for the case. It always sounded lame to me when I have heard attorneys do that. I wasn’t interested in your suggestion here until I read the part where you say you don’t need to share the title, but can use it as a guideline for yourself. THAT I strongly favor. The title, as you say, can establish an initial jury mindset that may make your case more difficult. You might think about providing tips for how to deal with a situation where opposing counsel gives a title to the case. Or where you have competing titles to the case.

  3. Thanks for your excellent and valuable resources. I am a student of advocay here in Kenya. With scarce resources on the subject of trial advocacy, your site has been more than an heaven.

  4. Excellent point. Helps keep your client in check when he is rearing to tell the entire story of his dealings, chock full of details that he cares about, but are inconsequential to the outcome of his case.