The one and only Oprah has had an illustrious television career garnering interviews with the world’s most glamorous people. Her most recent exclusive with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry attracted more than 17 million viewers worldwide. Don’t pretend you didn’t watch it. With her dramatic reactions, cutting questions and endless charisma, Oprah knows how to command a viewer’s attention – an essential skill for many lawyers. We asked Oprah to give our readers some tips for dazzling in the courtroom.
- Introduce your evidence by starting a de facto book club. Review each affidavit like you’re introducing the world to J.K. Rowling – because you did introduce the world to J.K. Rowling.
- Stack your jury with overly excitable individuals. Get them to scream with giddy joy as you enter the room. It’ll reinforce that you’re a Big Deal.
- Redecorate the courtroom with your personal brand. Consider constructing a giant statue of your first initial and place it over the royal coat of arms. There is only room for one queen in the court.
- Name-drop every celebrity you know. The Obamas, Julia Roberts, Chief Justice Kiefel. This will really impress the jury and your client.
- In your opening statement, annunciate and emphasise unexpected words and syllables. This adds to the drama and mystery of the case. For example: “JustICE must be served toDAY. There will BE no peace, withOUT presence. I would know, beCAUSE I know Deepak Chopra perSONally.”
- If the judge asks the jury to leave the courtroom for voir dire, win them over by telling them to check under their seat. If you can’t afford to gift them a Range Rover, proceed by yelling and repeating nonsensical phrases like “you getta voir! You getta voir! YOU getta voir!”
- If that fails, invite Tom Cruise to court. He will distract from damaging witness testimony by jumping around the courtroom.
- During cross-examination, repeat what the witness has said in the form of a question. This buys you time to come up with your next line while making you seem important.
- Pause for what may seem like an insanely long time before reacting to what a witness has said … [15 second pause] WHAT!? Then repeat the question again. WHAT!?
- Ask questions viewers really want to hear answers to. For example, ask Prince Harry if he has watched The Crown. In a criminal setting, ask the defendant straight up if they did the crime. Cut to the chase already.
- Remove your glasses and gasp. A lot.
- Be a multi-billionaire. Everyone respects a billionaire. Unless that billionaire is Kylie Jenner.
- Blend commonplace legal tests with various inspirational quotes. Why employ the reasonable person test when you can tell the jury to “think like a queen” or “own their power”? Standards of proof don’t need to be as mediocre as “beyond reasonable doubt” – instead, say “one per cent doubt is zero per cent faith”. Let the jury do with it as they will.
NB: Please note Oprah did not actually provide this advice as she is too busy running America.