Refreshing Recollection in Court

469708075It’s common for witnesses forget facts while testifying—often due to nerves and sometimes due to selective memory. The good news is that you can use almost any item to refresh a witness’s recollection. Continue reading

Mini Opening for Voir Dire

jdopening_12384583As they say, never miss a chance to make a good first impression. If the judge permits it, take the opportunity to address prospective jurors before the oral questioning phase of the voir dire has begun. There are many advantages to the mini-opening statement and little downside.  Continue reading

Don’t Let Your Argument Get Personal

arbitration_104240128Although the permissible scope of counsel’s discussion and argument before a jury is broad, personal attacks on opposing parties or their counsel is never ok. Doing so opens you up to successful objections, makes you look like a jerk to the jury, and may lead to you losing your case. Continue reading

Excusal Remorse: I Want That Witness Back!

witness_78724356Trial attorneys sometimes get excusal remorse, i.e., they excuse a witness and then want to recall that witness back to the stand. Anticipate this reaction and take proaction. Continue reading

5 Steps to Fixing the Facts in Your Client’s Mind

176421487If properly prepared, your testifying client will be relaxed, confident, natural—and a master of pertinent facts. But no one can behave naturally on the stand while trying to keep in mind 50 different facts. When you’re preparing your client to testify, your job is to narrow the case to a few important facts and then fix them in your client’s mind. Continue reading

Give Discovery Responses a Formal Introduction

136727429Many attorneys mistakenly believe that answers to interrogatories and requests for admission are automatically in evidence after they’re lodged with the court. Not so! First, you’ve got to formally introduce them into evidence.

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Loose Lips Sunk Settlement

slam_90250057In a recent Florida case, the plaintiff lost $80,000 of settlement proceeds he had received on his employment discrimination claim after his daughter spilled the beans on Facebook. Breaching the confidentiality clause in a settlement agreement—and getting caught at it—is frighteningly easy in the age of social media. Continue reading

Is the Witness Competent?

465261223Would you know what to do if you believed that a potential witness may not be competent to testify? Take it to the judge before the witness takes the stand.

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When It’s OK to Lead on Direct

court_57280447Litigators learn early that you can’t use leading questions during direct examination. But that’s not always true. You can ask leading questions on direct or redirect examination in certain “special circumstances where the interests of justice otherwise require.” But what circumstances are those? Continue reading

Judicial Notice 101

judge_blog_8476372Some propositions of law or fact just can’t reasonably be disputed. That’s where judicial notice comes in, and here’s how it works in California. Continue reading

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