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The California lawyer’s trusted source for fast, relevant, and practical legal guidance.
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    Some 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 … Continue reading Get a Crash Course from Your Expert

    Julie BrookLearn fast from your expert about the area of expertiseJulie BrookLearn fast from your expert about the area of expertise

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    When cross-examining a witness, almost always begin and end with your strongest questions. Except in a couple of situations. Many attorneys begin cross-examination of witnesses with the verbal equivalent of clearing their throats. They ask routine questions about employment, or other peripheral matters. This is not the way to go. Start with a bang! A … Continue reading Begin and End with Your Strongest Questions

    Julie Brookuse strong question to open and close your cross-examination of a trial witnessJulie Brookuse strong question to open and close your cross-examination of a trial witness

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    When 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. Counsel has a basic right to examine prospective jurors to ascertain whether grounds exist to challenge them. CCP §222.5(b)(1). (Voir dire in criminal cases is governed by CCP §223). … Continue reading What You Can’t Ask a Juror During Voir Dire

    Julie Brookpotential jurors waiting to be questioned by the attorneys and the judgeJulie Brookpotential jurors waiting to be questioned by the attorneys and the judge

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    When 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. Offers of proof … Continue reading Are You Showing Enough in an Offer of Proof?

    Julie Brookattorney making offer of proof to judge at trialJulie Brookattorney making offer of proof to judge at trial

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    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. Speak in a comfortable style. Use a conversational tone that’s loud enough for all to hear and can encourage a witness to speak … Continue reading 5 Direct Examination Techniques You Should Be Using

    Julie BrookJulie Brook

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    A 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. 1. Build rapport back up. There’s often considerable time between opening statements and closing arguments. … Continue reading 3 Tips for Plaintiff’s Closing Argument

    Julie Brookplaintiff's lawyer talking to jury during closing argumentJulie Brookplaintiff's lawyer talking to jury during closing argument

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    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. The jury will be more likely to believe (and remember) statements they hear two, three, or … Continue reading Don’t Do This on Cross Examination

    Julie Brookcross examining a witnessJulie Brookcross examining a witness

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  • 11/14/18--07:53: List of Trial Objections
  • Before heading into trial, review this list of trial objections. And keep it handy during trial. Objections to Competency of Witness Unable to express and be understood (Evid C §701) Unable to understand duty to tell truth (Evid C §701) Judge at this trial (Evid C §703) Juror at this trial (Evid C §704) Without … Continue reading List of Trial Objections

    Julie BrookJulie Brook

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    You’re 30 days from your trial date. Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve gotten this close, or maybe it’s your first time. Don’t worry—here’s a handy chart setting out what you need to do. 40 to 20 Days Before Trial to Trial Date (TD) Make sure discovery is complete or obtain extension (CCP §§2024.020(a), … Continue reading What to Do a Month Before Trial

    Julie BrookJulie Brook

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    As with all witnesses, you must be able to control an expert witness during cross-examination. But many experts with experience in testifying treat cross-examiners like presidential candidates deal with the press: they ignore the question asked and answer the question they prefer. Here’s how to keep experts under your control. If you’ve got an evasive … Continue reading How to Control an Expert Witness

    Julie BrookJulie Brook