8 Ways to Make Calling Witnesses More Dramatic

As a trial attorney, never forget your role as director of the courtroom play. Consider these staging decisions when it comes to calling witnesses. Continue reading

How to Rehab Your Witness

What can you do if your witness’s truthfulness has been challenged? Use evidence of the witness’s prior consistent statement to rehabilitate your witness. Here’s how it’s done. 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

Should You Use Voir Dire With Opponent’s Expert?

lawyer asking expert witness questions about qualificationsAfter opposing counsel attempts to qualify an expert witness, you can ask the court to let you conduct voir dire on the expert. But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Continue reading

Revisiting the Dying Declaration Exception

life and death; dying declarant must believe death is imminentThe “dying declaration” exception to the hearsay rule just jumped from law school textbooks onto California newspapers: A young woman who was stabbed and bleeding told officers about who had assaulted her shortly before she died, leading to the arrest of two suspects. It’s time to review what’s required to meet this hearsay exception. Continue reading

FAQs about Redirect Examination

After the other side has had a chance to cross-examine your witness, you get another bite at the apple—redirect examination. Knowing when and how to do redirect is key. 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

Do You Know When to Use a Subpoena?

A “subpoena” is a writ or an order that compels a witness to either show up and testify or produce something. CCP §1985(a). You can use a subpoena in discovery or in a civil trial or hearing. Here’s a look at which type of subpoena to use in common situations. 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

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