The “Opening the Door” Fallacy

200368976-001It is a popular fallacy that if testimony is given on a subject during direct examination, this will “open the door” to unrestricted cross-examination about that matter; making evidence admissible that would otherwise be inadmissible. This is actually only true in certain limited circumstances. Continue reading

7 Suggestions for Your Next Voir Dire

Maybe you’ve been doing voir dire the same way for years, or maybe it’s your first time. Either way, check out these ideas for your next voir dire. Continue reading

Don’t Let Clients Push You Too Far

Yes, you have a duty to represent your client zealously. But don’t let your zeal for your client’s case trump your duty to prosecute only meritorious cases. It won’t fly to say, “My client made me do it.” Your duty to the judicial process transcends any client’s agenda. Check out a recent smackdown from a California appellate court. Continue reading

Lost on a Motion in Limine? Make Your Record!

The basic rule is that, if you don’t make a timely objection before or when objectionable matters are mentioned or introduced, you may not be able to raise the issue on appeal. See Evid C §353. Accordingly, if you don’t ensure that a proper record is made of any adverse ruling to a motion in limine, you may just have lost a ground for appeal. Here’s how to preserve the ground for appeal when you’re on the losing end of a motion in limine. Continue reading

5 Ways to Challenge a Grant of Summary Judgment

fivesteps_140389068When a summary judgment motion is granted and you’re representing the opposing party, you have a few choices in how to respond. You can challenge the grant directly in the trial court by one of four motions or wait to appeal after the final judgment. Here’s a handy checklist to help you determine which tactic is available and most appropriate. Continue reading

4 Tips for Effectively Presenting Your Expert

ThinkstockPhotos-537972277You have an expert witness set to testify on your client’s behalf. Never undermine the impact your expert’s testimony can have on your case. Don’t let him or her bore the jury—present your expert in the most positive and effective light possible. Continue reading

Use a Focus Group Before Every Trial

If a full-blown mock trial is out of your budget, then get a focus group together. For the cost of $50 per juror plus pizza, you could spend the most productive and useful evening of your trial preparation. Continue reading

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