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What Expert Attorneys Do During Direct Examination

How the attorney and witness appear to the jury can be as important as the words that are spoken. Here are four tips from expert trial attorneys that will make your direct examination more effective regardless of what you ask the witness. Continue reading

How to Cross-Examine with Inconsistent Depo Testimony

A witness on the stand has made a statement that’s inconsistent with his or her earlier deposition testimony and has committed to the inconsistency. As the cross-examining attorney, how should you handle it? Continue reading

Do You Need an Expert Witness, and If So, What Type?

Retaining an expert witness is expensive and may not be necessary in every case. Don’t try to keep up with the Jones & Jones firm: Just because the other side has an expert or because experts have traditionally been used in similar cases doesn’t mean you need one. And if you decide you do need an expert, make sure it’s the best type for your case. Continue reading

Can Opinion Come In Under the Business-Records Exception?

Here’s a common evidence question: Are opinions admissible when they’re in business records? The answer is generally “yes,” as long as the statement of opinion is in a writing that qualifies otherwise for the business-records exception to the hearsay rule. Continue reading

How to Cross-Examine on Reputation

Try this hypothetical: Opposing counsel has just finished direct examination of a witness who testifies that your adversary has the reputation of being scrupulously honest in all aspects of his life, including business transactions. How can you cross-examine on the nebulous concept of “reputation”? Continue reading

How to Deal with Racial Bias in Court

From the disproportionate incarceration of African-American men to the implicit bias of lawyers, jurors, and judges, Jeff Adachi, Public Defender for the City and County of San Francisco, explains how racial disparities are rampant in our legal system. And then he explains how lawyers can deal with it in court. Continue reading

Before You Cross-Examine, Write This Down

“The toughest part of being a trial attorney, whether criminal or civil, is pulling off an excellent cross,” says Toni Messina in her article for Above the Law. So, if you’re a new trial attorney, or it’s been a while, it’s natural to be nervous about an upcoming cross-examination. An excellent way to calm your nerves and set yourself up for success is to write down virtually all of your questions and related information in advance. Here’s what to write. Continue reading

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