How to Object Without Being Objectionable

thinkstockphotos-85449217-1How do you object in trial without being objectionable to the jury? Perhaps it’s impossible: A jury naturally resents the attorney who constantly leaps up and breaks the flow of information. But there are a few ways to make yourself less objectionable to the jury. Continue reading

Don’t Let Your Witness Look Like a Liar

noseJurors have been bombarded with information about “body language.” This information is joined by common folklore about tell-tale signs of falsehood. Here are five things to practice with your witnesses to keep their body language consistent with their truthful testimony.

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Outlining a Defense Opening Statement

Ythinkstockphotos-465858364our opening statement is an opportunity to be creative and show your personal style. But as defense counsel, there are points you’ll always want to make; using an outline will help you to stay focused and organized. Continue reading

Don’t Bore the Jury!

Much to the chagrin of trial attorneys, jurors don’t always give their full attention to the trial. It’s trial counsel’s job to keep things interesting. Depending on the case, this can be a tall order. Here are some tips for making your questioning of a witness as compelling as possible. Continue reading

Should You Save Something for Your Closing?

57277978Although it may be tempting to cover everything during cross-examination, there are situations in which it’s better to save something for your closing argument. In fact, it’s a time-honored rule among some litigators to always save something for your closing. But that strategy can be risky, too. Continue reading

4 Keys to Using Your Opening and Closing to Persuade

ThinkstockPhotos-477432677Both the opening statement and the closing argument should be used to persuade. (No, it’s not all about direct and cross.) The adages about the importance of first impressions and last words are worth heeding. Continue reading

Demonstrative Evidence: When You Want to Show and Tell

82770181An episode of This American Life described the failed effort to get a Tic-tac-toe-playing chicken into evidence in the death penalty case of a mentally ill man with a very low IQ. Defense counsel was trying to rebut a psychiatrist’s testimony that the defendant was aware he was going to be executed based on his beating her in a game of Tic-tac-toe. We’ll never know who would have won the game; the court refused to admit the chicken because it “would degrade the dignity of the court.” Although the chicken didn’t work out, demonstrative evidence can be a very powerful courtroom tool. Continue reading

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