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In the context of the courtroom, “stealing thunder” refers to revealing damaging information first so as to diffuse its impact. If damaging evidence is going to be brought out by one's adversary, an attorney may choose to reveal this information first to the judge and/or jury, thereby stealing the adversary's thunder. This entry describes research on the effectiveness of stealing thunder and also explores why stealing thunder works.

Trial lawyers have concerned themselves with several questions related to stealing thunder, and the answers are usually a matter of conjecture based on learned opinion and experience.

First, do attorneys use this tactic? The answer, based on interviews, informal surveys, trial advocacy books, and observations of courtroom trials, is that they do. In fact, stealing thunder appears to be ...

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