When Can You Discover Private Information?

Even when a litigant can’t assert a statutory privilege, private matters may nonetheless be protected from discovery under the constitutional right of privacy. Balancing the privacy interest at stake against the need for discovery has always been a difficult task. But a recent California Supreme Court  case, Williams v Superior Court (2017) 3 C5th 531, has clarified the proper analysis to use.

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Have You Considered a Motion in Limine to ADMIT Evidence?

young lawyer considering whether to use a motion in limine to include evidenceMany lawyers view motions in limine as tools used only to exclude or limit particular evidence.  But the experts know that a motion in limine is also a useful tool to admit evidence. Continue reading

3 Tips for Plaintiff’s Closing Argument

plaintiff's lawyer talking to jury during closing argumentA plaintiff‘s closing argument must focus on linking the plaintiff’s claims to the evidence. However when a jury is involved, you’ll need to do more than that. Here are three tips from expert trial attorneys for an effective closing argument. Continue reading

Checklist: Summary Judgment Motion Deadlines

Summary judgment and summary adjudication motions are the most difficult and time-consuming motions that can be filed with the court. Use this checklist to make sure that you meet the key deadlines. Continue reading

5 Direct Examination Techniques You Should Be Using

When conducting direct examination of a party or witness, how you ask the questions can be as important as what you ask. Review and apply these five direct examination techniques every time. Continue reading

Are You Showing Enough in an Offer of Proof?

attorney making offer of proof to judge at trialWhen the opposing side objects to your evidence or the judge rules your evidence inadmissible, it’s time to make an offer of proof to encourage the court to admit the evidence or reconsider its ruling. Here’s a handy table illustrating how much of a showing is necessary in an offer of proof. Continue reading

What You Can’t Ask a Juror During Voir Dire

potential jurors waiting to be questioned by the attorneys and the judgeWhen selecting a jury for a civil trial, counsel has pretty wide latitude in terms of the scope of voir dire questions. But there are limits. Continue reading

Begin and End with Your Strongest Questions

use strong question to open and close your cross-examination of a trial witnessWhen cross-examining a witness, almost always begin and end with your strongest questions. Except in a couple of situations. Continue reading

Get a Crash Course from Your Expert

Learn fast from your expert about the area of expertiseSome lawyers decide at the beginning of a case that they’ll never be able to understand what the expert is talking about, and they make no effort to do so. Bad plan! Regardless of the expert’s skill, it’s the lawyer’s responsibility to make sure that his or her expertise is presented to the trier of fact in an admissible and persuasive way. To do that, the lawyer needs to understand the expert’s testimony and field of expertise. Here are four ways to educate yourself fast. Continue reading

Should You Object to Compound Questions?

A question to a witness is objectionable on the ground that it’s compound if it joins two or more questions with the disjunctive “or” or the conjunctive “and.” But it may not always make sense to object. Here’s a look at the dangers of compound questions and how to handle them. Continue reading