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

3 Times Not to Ask Leading Questions on Cross

attorney questioning witness during cross-examinationLeading questions are the main tool of the cross-examiner—they tell a witness how to answer by suggesting an answer. See Evid C §764. But you should also know when using leading questions on cross-examination isn’t the best technique. Continue reading

Should You Use Voir Dire With Opponent’s Expert?

lawyer asking expert witness questions about qualificationsAfter opposing counsel attempts to qualify an expert witness, you can ask the court to let you conduct voir dire on the expert. But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Continue reading

How to Prepare the Separate Statement for a Summary Judgment Motion

fingers on keyboard tying out a separate statement in support of a motion for summary judgmentEvery motion for summary judgment or summary adjudication must include “a separate statement setting forth plainly and concisely all material facts which the moving party contends are undisputed.” CCP §437c(b)(1). Here’s what to include in a separate statement and how to format it. Continue reading

5 Tips for Preparing Defense Closing Statement

man holding up five fingers for the five tips for defense closing argumentLike opening statements, defense counsel should strategically organize the closing argument and reduce it to very simple main points. But unlike an opening statement, a closing argument is an explicit argument rather than a narrative containing an implicit argument. Here are five tips for defense counsel’s closing argument. Continue reading

3 Things to Consider When Preparing a Young Witness

girl covering her mouth before testifying in courtWhen it comes to preparing a child to testify at trial, there are at least three things that differ from preparing an adult witness. Continue reading

Should You Always Move for Summary Judgment and Summary Adjudication in the Alternative?

Motions for summary judgment and summary adjudication are frequently made in the alternative. Do you know why this is and when not to move alternatively? Continue reading