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Practical Advice on Trial Professionalism

The Courtroom Culture A successful trial lawyer adapts to the courtroom culture. While protocols vary somewhat from courthouse to courthouse and even courtroom to courtroom in the same courthouse, minimum standards of conduct do exist. In the following article, King County Superior Court Judge John P. Erlick provides concrete advice concerning those standards. His advice [...]

TO HECK WITH SPELLCHECK

Or is it: “2 HEK WIT SPILL CHICK”CANDIDATE FOR A PULLET SURPRISEI have a spelling checker. It came with my PC.It plane lee marks four my revueMiss steaks aye can knot sea.Eye ran this poem threw it,Your sure reel glad two no.Its vary polished inn it's weigh.My checker tolled me sew.A checker is a bless [...]

CROSS-EXAMINATION TO PRIOR PROBABILITIES

Prior Probability is a term associated with a complex mathematical formula devised by the eighteenth century mathematician Thomas Bayes. You most likely will have to look long and hard to find a simple, everyday-English definition of the term.  I did a quick search of all the usual suspects on the internet (Wikipedia, etc.), and the [...]

IRVING YOUNGER – SAGE OF CROSS-EXAMINATION

Watch Irving Younger Discuss the Ten Commandments of CrossWhenever we get to the subject of cross-examination in my law school class and I (Bob) mention Professor Irving Younger the students give me blank stares. None of them seem to have heard anything at all about Professor Younger or his famous Ten Commandments of Cross-Examination. Younger [...]

Videos of Cross-Examinations

Yogi Berra is supposed to have said “You can observe a lot just by watching,” and that is not a bad method of learning the principles and techniques of cross-examination. You sometimes even learn more from watching a wretched cross-examination than you can from watching a brilliant one. Set forth below are videos of cross-examinations [...]

COLD READING TECHNIQUE FOR CROSS-EXAMINATION

Years ago a friend of mine asked me (Bob Dekle) to watch a late night television show with him. In the show, a psychic summoned dead relatives from beyond the pale to talk to his guests. The show began with some appropriate music, a video of stars swirling in the galaxy, and a voice-over talking [...]

NEW CROSS-EXAMINATION TRAINING

Coming Soon - Inaugural Advanced Trial Advocacy Institute – June 2 There will be a healthy dose of instruction on winning cross-examination strategies and techniques at the new week-long Advanced Trial Advocacy Institute (ATAI) that I and Professor Marilyn Berger are chairing. The course begins June 2, 2014. Seattle University Law School and the American [...]

NEW ADVANCED TRIAL ADVOCACY INSTITUTE

Coming soon - June 2, 2014, Seattle University Law School and the American College of Trial Lawyers proudly begin the inaugural Advanced Trial Advocacy Institute (ATAI). This CLE program offers winning trial advocacy strategies and skills from preparation through closing argument. The Institute is designed to be the most comprehensive trial advocacy training program in [...]

SMOKE-AND-MIRRORS CROSS-EXAMINATION AND COURTROOM POSITIONING

Where to StandRecently I (Bob Dekle) had my class doing practical exercises on concession-seeking cross-examination. See Cross-Examination Handbook for a discussion of the concession-seeking method.  Since we were in a mock courtroom, the non-performing students played the role of jurors and the witness took the witness stand. The first performer asked me if she should [...]

LINCOLN USED CONCESSION-SEEKING CROSS-EXAMINATION

The Crafton Murder Trial Cross-ExaminationAbraham Lincoln’s fame as a cross-examiner rests in large part on his decisive use of an almanac to discredit a witness in what history remembers as the Almanac Trial. If we dig into the history books, we can find much better support for the proposition that he was an excellent cross-examiner. [...]