7 Tips for Using Demonstrative Evidence at Trial

jury viewing demontration in courtroomThe technology used for showing evidence at trial has changed greatly over the years, but the purpose of demonstrative evidence remains unchanged: it breaks the pattern of the trial, clarifies issues, maintains jury interest, and persuades. The challenge for attorneys is to capitalize on new technological resources without causing juror distraction, confusion, and frustration. Here are seven expert tips for meeting this challenge. Continue reading

How to Get a Witness to Start with the Basis for Opinion

lawyer asking judge to voir dire adverse witness on basis for her opinionCan the adverse party require that a witness on direct examination testify to the basis of his or her opinion before stating that opinion? Short answer, no. But there still may be a way to do it. Continue reading

Don’t Do This on Cross Examination

cross examining a witness

Many attorneys work through their nervousness by beginning their cross examination with taking the witness step by step through previous direct examination testimony. Then they turn to the hard job of true cross-examination. Here’s why you shouldn’t do this. 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

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

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