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When it comes to winning at trial, attorneys should never underestimate the power of a strong opening statement and an even stronger closing argument. The right opening can set the tone for the entire trial and a solid closing can tie your whole case together in neat little knot. Bad openings and closing can sink your case from the get-go.

From setting up the jury's expectations to explaining what in the world just happened over the past several days, these are two of the most critical components of any trial. Notably, these are also two of the three times an attorney is actually supposed to address a jury directly (the third being voir dire), so you better make 'em good.

Fortunately, The Rutter Group has an upcoming CLE seminar to help both new and experienced practitioners alike, aptly titled: Good Morning/Thank You Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury: A Guide to Effective Opening Statements and Closing Arguments. (Disclaimer: The Rutter Group is FindLaw's sister company.)

Civil litigators know that asking a question during a trial that you don't know the answer to is a big risk, even when it's your own witness.

A civil trial is not the time to be exploring new testimony. Discovery's done. Trial is about presenting the evidence you discovered via interrogatories, document requests, and of course, during depositions.

California lawyers, have you been California dreaming of learning to actually use technology in the courtroom? Have you been too timid to Tweet on behalf of your law firm? Do you get an eerie feeling whenever eDiscovery gets mentioned? If so, stop fearing tech, and take the time to learn about how it can actually help you in your practice.

If you can make it Los Angeles on February 10, then you can get schooled on some of the best practices for using technology in your legal practice. The Rutter Group, in coordination with the California Judges Association, will be presenting an all-star faculty for an all-day CLE covering a broad range of tech related issues: The New and Future Reality: How Technology is Affecting Litigation. (Disclosure: The Rutter Group is FindLaw's sister company.)

Like you, the law is always changing. Sure, some things may stay the same. But every year, without fail, rules are tweaked, new precedent is set, and what you thought you knew no longer applies. Luckily for California lawyers, The Rutter Group has a spate of seminars coming up to help get you up to speed with the recent developments.

The Rutter Group's 2018 Update Programs: Family Law, Civil Procedure, Personal Injury and Insurance Litigation will provide instruction on what has changed in these areas of law over the past year, and what changes are right around the corner. Each subject is a separate seminar providing specific instruction for California practitioners, along with 3 MCLE credits each (including 0.5 credits toward the ethics requirement). (Disclosure: The Rutter Group is FindLaw's sister company.)

When it comes time to make sure you've got all your MCLE credits, realizing you forgot to satisfy your Elimination of Bias requirement can be frustrating. This one can be especially frustrating because the courses offered online can often be horribly outdated, not to mention overpriced, and pretty much worthless.

Fortunately, The Rutter Group has a worthwhile, in person, 1 hour course that actually focuses on current issues surrounding the elimination of bias in the legal profession. The program, Bias in the 21st Century: Recognition and Elimination of Bias in the Legal Profession and Society, will teach you about the current issues surrounding "majority privilege," "white privilege," and "male privilege." (Disclosure: The Rutter Group is FindLaw's sister company.)

Not all family law cases are created equal, and no two are exactly alike. While it's nearly always emotional, some cases are charged with more than just the usual family drama that leads to divorce.

When child custody and domestic violence cases crossover, the stakes are higher. If you're not ready for it, the consequences could be all too real. Fortunately, for practitioners in California, The Rutter Group's Effective Strategies for Litigating Child Custody in Contested Domestic Violence Cases program can teach you some of the best practices and strategies for handling these matters. (Disclosure: The Rutter Group is FindLaw's sister company.)

Whether you're still trying to get your first trial or have done hundreds, it's always good to learn new methods. The Rutter Group's The Evidence and Trial Wheels: Two Dynamic Devices for Trial Lawyers program can help participants develop those automatic trial reflexes and the confidence to resolve evidentiary issues at trial. (Disclosure: The Rutter Group is FindLaw's sister company.)

Unlike other seminars where speakers talk at the classroom, participants will get first-hand experience spinning "The Wheels" and testing out methods as they are being taught. There's a reason why even experienced litigators keep "The Wheels" at counsel's table during trial, and even pre-trial hearings.

State Bar Law Sections Split Off

The California State Bar announced 'historic reforms' under a new fee bill, including an amicable separation from its practice sections.

The voluntary sections will spin off into a non-profit entity, side-stepping an issue that came up last year. The sections were considering a split then, partly because of new restrictions against spending on alcohol and contracting with resort-style venues for events.

For the disciplinary and regulatory arm of the California State Bar, the biggest change comes to the board of trustees. Lawyers will no longer be elected to the board.

If you have just hung your shingle out there as a California family lawyer, or are planning on doing so, The Rutter Group's CFLR is offering a three-day seminar that can teach you and your staff the ins and outs of California family practice: Basic Training: Family Law. Experienced practitioners and their support staff can benefit by learning the current best practices and procedures from leading experts in the field and the current Supervising Judge of the Los Angeles County Court Family Law Division. (Disclosure: The Rutter Group is FindLaw's sister company.)

The course will walk participants through a divorce, from before it even starts to after it's finished. And like real cases, the course starts from the point of a client's first contact and ends with handling post-judgment matters. CFLR is offering the course in Costa Mesa, California, in October 2017 on the 6th, 7th, and 8th, at the Westin South Coast Plaza (just a short drive from Huntington Beach and Newport Beach, so bring the family).

From memos to moot court, law school students are trained in the art of persuasion. Unfortunately, much of that art goes to seed upon graduation, or is reserved only for the biggest case filings or court appearances. While some attorneys will find the argument in anything, many more lawyers think the only time they need to be persuasive is in front of a judge or jury.

As it turns out, you may need your powers of persuasion in your everyday practice, and there are ways to be more effective in your interactions with clients, opposing counsel, judges, mediators, arbitrators, regulators, and others and therefore be more successful in your legal practice. Here’s how.