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DIRECT EXAMINATION. Telling YOUR story through the Witness. Purpose of Direct Examination. Credibility of the Lawyer Theme and Theory Proves your Case Tells the Witness ’ Story Witness is the Focus. Where Do I Begin?. Determine the purpose of the witness

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DIRECT EXAMINATION

Telling YOUR story through the Witness


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Purpose of Direct Examination

  • Credibility of the Lawyer

  • Theme and Theory

  • Proves your Case

  • Tells the Witness’ Story

  • Witness is the Focus


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Where Do I Begin?

  • Determine the purpose of the witness

  • Create a list of questions or points that best elicits that purpose

  • Separate the good and bad facts

  • Consider advanced techniques to help communicate themes and testimony


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Understanding and Presenting your Story

  • KISS

    • No “Legalese”

    • Chronological Order

  • Humanize witness=likeability=credibility

  • Create a connection with the jury (triangle)

  • Reiterate and strengthen your theme

  • Control through direction – DON’T LEAD!


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Knowing Your Weaknesses

  • “Drawing the Sting”

  • Watch out for “Land-mines”

  • Prepare, Prepare, Prepare


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The Basics

  • Structure of Questions: Who, What, When, Where, How, and Why

  • Do Not Ask Leading Questions

    • Leading questions suggest the answer to the witness.

      • “Isn’t it true…”

      • “The color of the truck was white, correct?”

  • Anticipate and prepare responses to potential objections to your questions.


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Advanced Techniques

  • Using Headlines for Transitions

  • Looping

  • Refreshing your Witness’ Memory

  • Using Exhibits

    • Real

    • Demonstrative


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Headlines and Transitions

  • A word or phrase that moves the questioning along, often in a new direction. Transitions are essential because they direct the witness-and the jury-to the next topic you want to discuss. Some attorneys call this skill “sign posting” or “headlining.”


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Looping

  • A looping question takes the answer the witness has just given and loops or incorporates it into the following question. By incorporating part of the witness’ answer into the next question, an attorney is able to create a thread for the examination and repeat an idea several times so that the jury will remember it better. Although this is an effective technique, if overused, it will became a distraction and lose its effectiveness.


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Refreshing Memory

  • Witness testifies he or she does not remember

  • You ask: “Would a copy of your deposition help refresh your memory?”

  • “Yes”

  • “Your Honor, I’m showing opposing counsel page 3 of witness’ deposition given on ___Date”

  • “May I approach the witness?”

  • “Mr. Smith, I am showing you a copy of your deposition given on Date; could you read lines 23-33 and let me know when you are finished?”

  • “Is your memory sufficiently refreshed?”

  • “Yes”

  • “Okay.” then re-ask question.

  • KEY TIP- “ARE YOU SURE?”


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The LAST Question

  • NEVER end with a leading question

  • NEVER end with a question that will elicit an objection

  • ALWAYS end with a question that will elicit an answer the jury will remember.

  • ALWAYS end with a bang!


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Redirect Examination

  • After the Cross Examination – OPTIONAL!

  • To clean up any facts that were made confusing or twisted during the Cross.

  • Must limit questions to the scope of the cross examination

  • Must ask open-ended, non leading questions

  • BRIEF – 3 MAX