21 Things to Tell Your Testifying Witness

witness_87617035Before your friendly witness is called to the stand, you should go over some general guidelines with him or her. This is particularly true of inexperienced witnesses, but it can’t hurt to review these admonitions even with someone who’s very experienced in giving trial testimony. You also might want to give them a hard copy to look over just before testifying. Continue reading

Expert Tip: Use Jury Instructions in Your Opening and Closing

78724287By the time you prepare your opening statement, you’ll know specifically what the legal theories of your case are and generally what the jury instructions will be. By the time of your closing argument, the instructions will have been settled. Make sure to plan your opening and closing with the jury instructions in mind. Continue reading

How to Guard Information During Negotiation

186300420If you’ve prepared well for a settlement negotiation, then you’ve already determined what information you won’t disclose to the other side. The trick is guarding that information in a way that doesn’t tip-off the other side to the fact that you’re being evasive. Continue reading

7 Tips for Making Supporting Memos More Persuasive

Almost all motions and demurrers must be supported by a memorandum. Cal Rules of Ct 3.1113. Your supporting memorandum convinces the judge that the law and facts support the order you want. The objective is to persuade—the memo may be your main shot at doing so, as judges issue a tentative ruling or come to the hearing with a ruling in mind based on the motion and response papers. Continue reading

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

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