4 Tips on How to Be Both Assertive and Effective in Settlement Negotiations

78163628One of the key components of the opening phase of a negotiation is articulating your client’s intentions, needs, and hopes regarding a settlement. You can strongly assert your client’s point of view in a way that also fosters an atmosphere conducive to settlement. Continue reading

4 Questions to Ask Before Moving for a Discovery Protective Order

153000711In California, civil discovery is “self-executing,” i.e., a party demanding discovery doesn’t need prior court approval, and the responding party may object instead of providing the requested information. An objection often ends the matter, but sometimes it doesn’t, and the party resisting discovery has to consider moving for a protective order. Continue reading

Demonstrative Evidence: When You Want to Show and Tell

82770181An episode of This American Life described the failed effort to get a Tic-tac-toe-playing chicken into evidence in the death penalty case of a mentally ill man with a very low IQ. Defense counsel was trying to rebut a psychiatrist’s testimony that the defendant was aware he was going to be executed based on his beating her in a game of Tic-tac-toe. We’ll never know who would have won the game; the court refused to admit the chicken because it “would degrade the dignity of the court.” Although the chicken didn’t work out, demonstrative evidence can be a very powerful courtroom tool. Continue reading

Should You Use Tactical Dismissals?

84215043As plaintiff’s counsel, you always want to analyze how best to present your client’s case in the most efficient and persuasive way. Sometimes doing that means dismissing certain parties or causes of action. But such tactical dismissals aren’t without risk. Here’s a list of questions to ask yourself when deciding whether or not to dismiss. Continue reading

Inadmissible Evidence May Still Get In for a Limited Purpose

78494947It may not be favored by courts or be the parties’ preference, but there’s a place for evidence to be admitted for a limited purpose. It can be seen as either a creative solution to an evidence admissibility problem or a way around the rules, depending on your perspective. Continue reading

Keep Cross-Examination Short (Unless You Shouldn’t)

153165013A successful evangelist once said about his sermons: “Nobody ever got religion after the first twenty minutes.” His time estimate may be wrong, but every evangelist and trial attorney has wrestled with the short attention span of their audiences. Continue reading

5 Things to Do to Prepare for Voir Dire

78724287When next faced with preparing for jury voir dire examination before trial, consider these five practical suggestions. Continue reading

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