CLE: Give Em’ The Ol Razzle Dazzle: The Ethics of Trial Advocacy and the Case of Kyle Rittenhouse (Virginia Approved for 1 CLE Ethics Credits)

  • Tuesday, June 07, 2022
  • 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
  • Live Interactive Webcast


  • Member is in good standing for current membership year, July 1, 2021 - June 30, 2022.
  • Prospect who is currently not a member of the Alexandria Bar Association.


There is a tension at play every day in courthouses throughout the United States. Skilled litigators, trained in our adversarial system, want more than anything to win. This desire pushes lawyers to theatrics in the courtroom because the art of persuasion relies so heavily on emotion. Attorneys feel they have to appeal to the jurors’ passions to convince them not just that the facts and law are on their side, but also that the jury should care enough to hand them the verdict. The case of Kyle Rittenhouse captivated the attention of much of the American public. For many, it became the play that we couldn’t stop watching. In this CLE, career prosecutor and ethics instructor David A. Lord, will use the Rittenhouse trial to examine the ethical pitfalls that can occur at each of the four primary parts of a trial – opening statement; an attorney’s presentation of their case (i.e. direct examination of witnesses); cross examination of the opposing side’s witnesses; and closing argument. At each of these junctures there are unique dangers where over-dramatization can shift a jury’s focus away from the evidence and towards the attorneys in a way that undermines the search for the truth. This session will explore the evidentiary and constitutional guardrails that exist at each stage and argues that only through the diligent enforcement of these rules, can the courts continue to fulfill their mission of discovering the truth.

David Lord
Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney
Office of the Alexandria Commonwealth's Attorney

David Lord is the Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Alexandria, Virginia and has been employed as a prosecutor in that office since 2006. David has broad litigation experience, having taken 56 cases to trial before a jury and tried many hundreds more as bench trials. In addition to his work as a trial attorney, David has developed an expertise in prosecutorial ethics and David teaches on that topic at multiple conferences each year. David is also on the permanent faculty of Trauma to Trial and Prosecutor’s Bootcamp, two statewide training conferences for Virginia prosecutors. David has previously taught on white collar crimes, mental health law, proactive prosecution, and diversity issues. David also spends time researching and writing on legal ethics and his article, Breaking the Faustian Bargain: Using Ethical Norms to Level the Playing Field in Criminal Plea Bargaining appeared in Vol. XXXV of the Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics. His article Give em' the Ol' Razzle Dazzle: The Ethics of Trial Advocacy and the Case of Kyle Rittenhouse will appear in the Suffolk Journal of Trial and Appellate Advocacy in 2022. As a prosecutor, David supervises multiple other attorneys and works with the Alexandria Treatment Court, a program that seeks to help divert from conviction and incarceration individuals with substance use disorder that engage in nonviolent felony offenses. David’s prior dockets have included the prosecution of adult sex crimes, homicides, robberies, fraud/embezzlement offenses, asset forfeiture, juvenile delinquency, gang crimes and traffic cases. David is a former President of the Alexandria Bar Association, has served as an adjunct professor for Appellate Writing at George Mason University’s School of Law, and will be returning to Mason this summer as an adjunct professor in Criminal Procedure. David graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from Colorado State University, obtained his J.D. from George Mason in 2005, and received a Masters of Theological Studies from Wesley Theological Seminary in 2019. David is a recipient of the 2017 Warren B. Von Schuch Distinguished Assistant Award, the 2014, 2015, and 2020 S. Randolph Sengel Award for Prosecutorial Excellence, the 2017 Alexandria Chamber of Commerce 40 Under 40 Award, and the 2019 Michael R. Doucette Lecturer of Merit Award.


Office Location and Hours

Alexandria Courthouse
The Alexandria Bar Association
520 King Street, Room 202
Alexandria, VA 22314

Monday - Thursday: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. by telephone 703-548-1106 or email at