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

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

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

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

For Richer or Poorer: Don’t Discuss a Party’s Financial Status with the Jury

woman zipping her mouth shut so she won't discuss parties' financial status with juryMany of us were taught that it’s impolite to refer to someone’s financial status. In a courtroom, it may also be misconduct. Continue reading