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

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

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

4 Keys to Using Your Opening and Closing to Persuade

ThinkstockPhotos-477432677Both the opening statement and the closing argument should be used to persuade. (No, it’s not all about direct and cross.) The adages about the importance of first impressions and last words are worth heeding. Continue reading

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