Do You Need an Expert to Spot Insanity?

The general rule is that you need an expert witness to testify when the subject is “sufficiently beyond common experience that the opinion of that expert would assist the trier of fact.” Evid C §801(a). When it comes to a person’s sanity, you don’t always need an expert. Continue reading

Do’s and Don’ts for Expert Declarations in Support of Summary Judgment

The testimony of an expert in support of a motion for summary judgment or for summary adjudication of issues is usually presented through a declaration under penalty of perjury. CCP §2015.5. Here are five do’s and don’ts for these expert declarations. Continue reading

The Danger of Refreshing Recollection

Sometimes a witness needs documents to refresh his or her recollection. This can lead to a tough choice for attorneys. Continue reading

Need More Time to Oppose a Summary Judgment Motion?

Once you receive a summary judgment motion filed against your client, you have about two months to file and serve your opposition papers. That sounds like plenty of time, but it may not be sufficient to marshal the evidence you need to oppose the motion. That’s when you need a continuance. Continue reading

Do You Know When to Request a Sidebar?

After a party objects to the admission of evidence, the proponent of the evidence can respond by arguing that the objection doesn’t apply or isn’t valid, or that the evidence is admissible because of an exception to the ground stated in the objection. Where that argument is made can make a big difference—should you argue in open court or in a sidebar conference? Continue reading

8 Ways to Make Calling Witnesses More Dramatic

As a trial attorney, never forget your role as director of the courtroom play. Consider these staging decisions when it comes to calling witnesses. Continue reading

6 Sources to Use When Preparing Voir Dire Questions

As you work on your questions to ask the jurors during voir dire, consider these six sources for ideas. Continue reading

Don’t Do These 4 Things During Your Closing Argument

The permissible scope of counsel’s closing arguments before a jury is broad, but there are limits. Here are 4 things that tread into improper territory. Continue reading

Need Another Expert? Here’s How to Augment Your Expert Designation

When you need another expert to support your client’s case or there’s a change in the general substance of a  previously designated expert, you’ll need to move to augment or amend your expert witness declaration. Continue reading

How to Rehab Your Witness

What can you do if your witness’s truthfulness has been challenged? Use evidence of the witness’s prior consistent statement to rehabilitate your witness. Here’s how it’s done. Continue reading