• The Basics 2017: Estate Planning

  • The Basics 2017: Criminal Defense

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • © The Regents of the University of California, 2010-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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

Objecting to an Ambiguous or Unintelligible Question

When examining a witness, counsel should ask questions that are intelligently phrased, concise, and clear in meaning. No one should have to guess at what the question means. If opposing counsel asks a question that can’t be understood or may be misunderstood by the witness, object on the ground that it’s ambiguous or unintelligible. Continue reading

The Best Way to Start a Cross-Examination

The key to a successful cross-examination is to start strong. The beginning of your cross is the time to go for the jugular. Here’s an example of how it’s done. Continue reading

13 Routinely Helpful Cross-Examination Questions

thinkstockphotos-471597352 There are some questions that are virtually always safe to ask during cross-examination and often elicit pleasantly surprising answers. Consider asking these questions on your next cross—they could make all the difference. Continue reading

The Best Way to Attack an Opposing Expert

57277978You rarely want to attack an opposing expert witness directly. Your best bet during cross-examination is to use peripheral or tangential ways of assailing the expert’s views. Continue reading

8 Tips for Every Cross-Examination You Do

ThinkstockPhotos-57280447Your approach to cross-examination will vary depending on the “type” of witness being examined, e.g., the hostile witness, the flippant witness, the timid witness, or the sympathetic and truthful witness. But regardless of which type you’re dealing with—which can even change during your examination—there are some universal principles of cross-examination that apply in any situation. Continue reading

Really Listen to the Witness

listen_50736139It sounds obvious: You should always listen carefully to the witness during cross-examination. But listening means more than just hearing the words actually said. Ideally, your listening will go well beyond that, which can make all the difference in improving your cross-examination. Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: