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Winning at Trial. Insights from the Bench and Leading Litigators

  • ID: 4196509
  • Book
  • Region: United States
  • ALM Media, LLC
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Winning at Trial: Insights from the Bench and Leading Litigators
By David Marriott

Trials are the cornerstone of the American legal system and the most effective manner of resolving disputes.  Unfortunately,  clients may receive an unfair trial from attorneys who are less than competent. Winning at Trial: Insights from the Bench and Leading Litigators dissects the fundamentals of a trial from start to finish, familiarizing the reader with every aspect of this critical process.

This comprehensive volume accumulates trial skills, tactics and insights from twenty of America’s leading defense lawyers, former prosecutors, and judges.  The book is useful for any trial lawyer, but is especially relevant for those who are new to the practice.  

Topics covered include:

-     Trial process

-     Jury selection

-     Opening statements

-     Direct examination

-     Cross-examination

-     Closing arguments

-     Exhibits

-     Objections

-     Expert witnesses

-     Trial ethics

Winning at Trial: Insights from the Bench and Leading Litigators is applicable for all forms of legal circumstances, whether the case is criminal or civil, tried in state or federal court, decided by a judge or jury.  It’s an in-depth reference guide for any trial lawyer’s library, and will greatly improve an attorney’s level of advocacy and competency in the courtroom.

#00728;  Handbook, to be published in 2014.  The online edition is updated automatically.
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The Trial Process

§ 1.01 Introduction
§ 1.02 Preparing for Trial from the Outset
§ 1.03 The Final Pretrial Conference and Order
§ 1.04 Trial Briefs
§ 1.05 Request to Charge, “Verdict Forms” and Voir Dire Questions
§ 1.06 Motions in Limine and Daubert Motions
§ 1.07 The Trial Process

Jury Selection

§ 2.01    Introduction
§ 2.02    Conduct of Voir Dire
§ 2.03    Purpose of Voir Dire
[1]    Selecting a Fair and Impartial Jury
[2]    Arguing Counsel’s Case and Persuading the Panel
[3]    Locating Adverse Jurors
[4]    All of the Above
§ 2.04    Standards for Cause Strikes
[1]    Federal Courts
[2]    State Courts
§ 2.05    Prior to Jury Selection   
[1]    Determining Ideal and Worst Jurors
[2]    Mock Trials and Focus Groups
[3]    Defining the Most Important Issues in the Case
[4]    Most Important Instructions in the Charge
§ 2.06    Conducting the Voir Dire
[1]    Client Presence and Conduct
[2]    Creating an Atmosphere of Openness
[a]    Describing the Process
[b]    Reinforcing Answers
[3]    Conversing with the Panel
[a]    Open-Ended Questions
[b]    Simple Language
[c]    Looping: Jurors Agreeing with Other Jurors
[4]    Exhibits and Power Points
§ 2.07    Subjects to Cover and Outline
[1]    Self-Introduction and Introduction of Client and Associates
[2]    Starting Strong with the Theme of the Case
[3]    Identifying Adverse Jurors
[4]    Ending Strong
[5]    Hardships
[6]    Challenges for Cause
[7]    Rehabilitation
§ 2.08    Other Ways to Learn About the Panel
[1]    Using the Internet
[a]    Voting Records
[b]    Real Estate Appraisals and Pictures
[c]    Social Networks
[2]    Questionnaires
[a]    When and Why to Use Questionnaires
[b]    Model Questionnaire
§ 2.09    Batson Challenges
[1]    Making the Batson Challenge
[2]    Defending Against the Batson Challenge
§ 2.10    Model Voir Dire Checklists
[1]    Checklist for a Personal Injury Case
[2]    Checklist for a Business Dispute Case

Opening Statements

§ 3.01    Importance of Opening Statements
§ 3.02    Governing Rules
[1]    Purpose and Scope of the Rules Governing the Opening Statement
[2]    Arguing the Case Not Permitted
[3]    Instructing on the Law Not Permitted
[4]    Assertions of Personal Opinion Not Permitted
[5]    Asserting Facts that Will Not Be Proven Not Permitted
[a]    General Rule
[b]    Delivering What Is Promised
[c]    Possibly Inadmissible Evidence
[6]    Objections During Opening
[7]    Timing and Order of Opening Statements
[8]    Admissions and Dispositive Motions Based on Opening
[9]    Other Proscriptions
§ 3.03    Themes
§ 3.04    Storytelling
[1]    Central Importance of Storytelling
[2]    Basic Principles
[a]    What Happened, Why It Happened, and What Will Make It Right
[b]    Literary Devices
[i]    Character Development
[ii]    Imagery
[iii]    Plot Twists
[iv]    Other Devices
[c]    Avoiding Excessive Detail
[d]    Beginning and Concluding Powerfully
[3]    Demonstratives and Evidence Previews
§ 3.05    Preemption and “Bad Facts”
§ 3.06    Establishing and Maintaining Trust
[1]    Jurors’ Reliance on Trustworthy Counsel
[2]    Dangers of Promises in Opening
[3]    Clarity, Organization and Simplicity
[4]    Delivery

Direct Examination

§ 4.01    Purpose of Direct Examination
[1]    Establishing Elements of Claims and Defenses
[2]    Presenting Facts Persuasively to the Jury
[3]    Types of Questions Allowed
[a]    Non-Leading Except as Necessary to Develop Testimony
[b]    Leading Generally Permitted to Elicit Certain Testimony
[i]    Background Facts
[ii]    Undisputed Facts
[iii]    Evidentiary Foundations
[iv]    Using Testimony in Contradiction of Other Evidence
[c]    Leading Allowed of Specific Types of Witnesses
[i]    Adverse Party and Adverse Wit-nesses
[ii]    Hostile Witnesses
§ 4.02    Content and Organization of Direct Examination
[1]    Calling and Introducing the Witness
[2]    Using an Easy-to-Follow Interesting Progres-sion
[3]    Establishing Background Facts
[4]    Establishing Necessary Facts
[5]    Establishing Impact Facts
[6]    Integrating Exhibits and Demonstrative Aids
[7]    Maintaining a Consistent Theme
[8]    Anticipating Cross and Deal with Weaknesses
[9]    Setting Up Redirect
[10]    Finishing Strong
§ 4.03    Techniques of Counsel Conducting Direct Examination
[1]    Being Conversational with an Interested De-meanor
[2]    Using Appropriate Pacing
[3]    Focusing Attention on the Witness and Al-lowing the Witness to Tell the Story
[4]    Using Headlines and Emphasizing Key Facts
[5]    Enhancing the Testimony Visually
[6]    Using Drama and Humor When Appropriate
[7]    Addressing Negative Facts Candidly
[8]    Anticipating Potential Objections
[9]    Finishing Strong
§ 4.04    Specific Witnesses
[1]    Client
[2]    Friendly Witness
[3]    Neutral Witness
[4]    Adverse Witness
[5]    Hostile Witness
[6]    Records Custodian
[7]    Law Enforcement Witness
[8]    Video Deposition Testimony
[9]    Child or Disabled Witness
[10]    Expert Witness
§ 4.05    Redirect Examination
[1]    Planned Spontaneity
[2]    Working Within the Scope of Cross-Examination
[3]    Repairing Damage from Cross
[4]    Explaining Key Persuasive Points
[5]    Emphasizing Facts that Are Good for the Case


§ 5.01 Introduction
§ 5.02 The Scope of Cross-Examination
§ 5.03 The Right to Cross-Examine
§ 5.04 The Goals of Cross-Examination
§ 5.05 The “Nuts and Bolts” of Conducting a Cross-Examination
§ 5.06 Checklist for Preparing for Cross-Examination


Closing Arguments
§ 6.01  Introduction
§ 6.02  Purpose of Closing Argument
§ 6.03  Right and Scope of Closing Argument 
    [1]    Federal Courts
    [2]    State Courts
§ 6.04  Structure and Organization of Closing Argument
    [1]    Introduction
    [2]    Stating the Issues
    [3]    Referring to the Law
    [4]    Marshalling the Evidence
    [5]    Anticipating and Responding
    [6]    Conclusion
§ 6.05  Ten Keys to a Successful Closing Argument
    [1]    Stressing the Most Important Parts of the Case
    [2]    Solidifying Juror Support
    [3]    Finalizing Case Themes
    [4]    Addressing Weaknesses in the Case
    [5]    Personalizing the Client
    [6]    Reinforcing Known Views of the Jurors
    [7]    Employing Visual Aids
    [8]    Using the Verdict Form and the Jury Instructions
    [9]    Exploiting the Opposition’s Failures
    [10]    Fighting on Home Turf
§ 6.06  Delivery
    [1]    Communicating Effectively
    [2]    Using Rhetoric Effectively
    [3]    Showing Appreciation for the Jury
    [4]    Finding a Suitable Style
§ 6.07  Objections During Opposition’s Closing Argument
    [1]    Whether to Object
    [2]    Appropriate Bases for Objecting
    [3]    Making the Objection
    [4]    Responding to the Objection
§ 6.08  Rebuttal Argument
    [1]    Allocating Substance and Time to Rebuttal
    [2]    Organization of Rebuttal
§ 6.09  Preparing for Closing Argument
§ 6.10  Checklist


§ 7.01 Definition, Purpose and Presentation
§ 7.02 Pretrial Procedures
§ 7.03 Admitting Exhibits at Trial
§ 7.04 Types of Exhibits
§ 7.05 Displaying Exhibits at Trial


§ 8.01    Introduction
§ 8.02    When to Make Objections
[1]    Objecting Prior to Trial
[2]    Objecting in Advance of the Offer of Proof
[3]    Objecting on the Fly
[4]    Continuing Objections
§ 8.03    When Not to Make Objections
[1]    General Strategy
[2]    Adapting to Particular Trials
§ 8.04    How to Make Objections
[1]    The Timeliness Requirement
[2]    The Specificity Requirement
[3]    Offers of Proof
[4]    War Story: You've Made Your Record, Now I've Made Mine
§ 8.05    How to Act When a Ruling is Made
§ 8.06    Common Objections
[1]    Objections to Form
[a]    Argumentative
[b]    Asked and Answered
[c]    Assumes Facts Not in Evidence
[d]    Compound Question
[e]    Cumulative
[f]    Leading
[2]    Objections to Substance
[a]    Relevance
[b]    More Prejudicial than Probative
[c]    Hearsay

Expert Witnesses

§ 9.01 Overview of the Role of Expert Witnesses
§ 9.02 Expert Witness Selection and Preparation
§ 9.03 Experts at Trail

Trial Ethics

§ 10.01    Introduction
§ 10.02    Formal Ethical Rules Applicable to the Trial Context
[1]    Model Code of Professional Responsibility
[2]    Model Rules of Professional Conduct
[3]    Additional Sources of Ethical Rules
[4]    Potential Consequences
§ 10.03    Attorney-Client Relationship
[1]    Discussions with Clients
[2]    Decision-Making on Behalf of the Client
[3]    Taking the Stand
§ 10.04    Ex Parte Communications
[1]    Communications with Potential Witnesses
[2]    Communications with the Judge or Jury
§ 10.05    Witnesses
[1]    Selecting Witnesses to Take the Stand
[2]    Witness Preparation
[3]    Direct Examination
[4]    Cross-Examination
§ 10.06    Presenting the Evidence
[1]    Selecting Evidence to Introduce and Handling Misleading Evidence
[2]    Objections
[a]    Choosing Whether to Object
[b]    Opponent’s Failure to Object
[c]    Proper Purposes for Objecting
[d]    Speaking Objections
§ 10.07    Arguing the Case
[1]    Personal Beliefs or Opinions
[2]    Opening Statements and Closing Arguments
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David R Marriott
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