Music is powerful, and during a trial, it can even be your superpower. Therefore, careful selection of pump-up music for each stage of trial may give you the edge when the rubber meets the verdict road. So, please enjoy our curated playlist of tried-and-true recommendations to get you ready for the task ahead.
1. Jury Selection – “Got to Be Real” by Cheryl Lynn and “We are Family” by Sister Sledge
These two jams are not just perfect for family bonding over bad dance moves at your cousin’s wedding reception; they are also required pump-up songs for this first stage of trial. As trial counsel, jury selection is our first and best chance to communicate directly with individual members of the venire and establish trust and rapport. We do not get to even speak to them until closing time! So, how do we do it? Well, we must be authentic and genuine. In other words, we “Got to Be Real.” Also, at the end of the day, we are in this experience together with the jury. Building on the trust we established in jury selection, they are our new “family” for the next several days, weeks, or even months. Get ready with these catchy anthems to empower you to embrace authenticity and build trust.
2. Opening Statement – “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor
If ever a song was hater-proof, this is it. Just hearing those opening riffs and percussion makes me want to throw on some heather-gray sweats and run up and down some steps in Philadelphia (coincidentally, we have an office there now!). Positive, boomy, and a bona fide classic, this song brings the energy you need to give the jury their first look at your case and set the stage for success.
3. Plaintiff’s Case in Chief – “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift and “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus
In every trial, the other team gets a chance to trot out their witnesses and exhibits. As the defense, we have to sit through plaintiff’s case in chief before we get to put on our show. That is the game and the players are indeed gonna play (play, play, play, play). In the moment when steam feels like it is on the verge of coming out of your ears, take a lesson from the poet and prophet that is Taylor Swift: shake it off, and move forward. And do not forget the power that is cross examination! Come in like a wrecking ball with our laser-focused determination and strategy to demolish the plaintiff’s case before you even call your first witness!
4. Defense Case in Chief – “Living on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi and Soundtrack to “Rudy” by Jerry Goldsmith
You know what happens after plaintiff’s case? You are halfway there! Bon Jovi’s epic sing-along classic will remind us to “hang on for the fight” as we move into our case to build upon the story we began to tell back in voir dire. And no one can dispute the pump-up value of “Rudy.” The soundtrack perfectly captures the indomitable spirit of an underdog who accomplishes seemingly insurmountable goals against impossible odds. If Rudy can do the thing, so can we! The tracks are energizing and uplifting and will get your head and heart in the game – but grab your sweater because this soundtrack will give you chills.
5. Closing Arguments – “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten and “Lose Yourself” by Eminem
In a closing argument, trial counsel finally gets to speak directly to the jury. It is our moment to clarify, to illuminate, and to argue the essence of the case. The jury will quite literally “hear your voice this time,” so make it count! Plaintiff’s counsel will deliver; will you?
And since we only get “one shot” at this, Eminem’s timeless anthem to rising to the moment is required listening. This song will get you in the mindset to own it and never let it go. Let us grab some of mom’s spaghetti and do this thing!
6. Waiting for the Jury to Return a Verdict – “Don’t Go Breakin’ my Heart” by Elton John and Kiki Dee and “Faith” by George Michael
Well, this is it. You poured your heart and soul into this trial and left it all on the field. Now you are anxiously waiting for the jury to return a verdict that will not break your heart. Elton John and Kiki Dee understand. Also, this is a perfect duet for defense counsel and their claims professional or second chair!
And of course, we have got to have faith: faith that the jury heard us and understood, considered the evidence carefully, and that the justice system works!
Whatever your favorite trial jams may be, music can boost your mental focus and energy levels when you need it the most. It can empower you to dream big and get creative. In the battlefield that is trial, that courage and creativity will serve you well. When you need to dig deep, music is there for you. Have fun choosing your own perfect playlist, and above all, enjoy the singular experience of trying a well-prepared case!