What trial skills would you like to learn?

Can I ask you a quick favor?  I’m trying to improve these courtroom tips and make the site more valuable for my fellow trial lawyers. To do that, I need to know what type of courtroom problems you’d like me to write about and what type of trial skills you’d like to improve.

Would you mind taking a moment to write a comment below (it’s okay to remain anonymous!) and tell me about a specific courtroom problem you’ve faced, an evidentiary problem you’ve encountered, or a trial skill you’d like to learn more about?

Thanks for helping me improve these tips!

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13 thoughts on “What trial skills would you like to learn?

  1. I would love tips on impeaching a witness with prior inconsistent statements. I am a prosecutor and would like to know how to successfully impeach both a defense witness as well as a State witness with prior inconsistent statements (e.g., domestic violence victims). Everyone seems to have a different opinion on how to do this. Thanks for all the tips!


  3. Many thanks for your great tips and advice!

    I am an attorney in the London office of a New York law firm practising in international arbitration. The dynamic is a little different to litigation in that there is almost never any direct examination, only cross-examination and re-examination. Each side’s evidence is effectively locked in in advance by way of witness statements which are tendered to the tribunal members and the other side many weeks in advance of the hearing. You therefore lose the ability to fine-tune the presentation of your side’s evidence to take account of developments in the case or your case theory in the weeks/days leading up to hearing or during the hearing itself. Do you hve any tips for dealing with this, or on presenting to a tribunal of international arbitrators?

  4. Once the jurors found out that the client I had been appointed to represent had been convicted of a sex offense against a child, whatever the prosecutor in the civil proceeding wanted to do to him was o.k. with them. A few jurors were not that way- how do I get more of them?

  5. I am practicing in the Dist. Court in India. India is one of the most populous countries of the world and naturally its problems and skills required to tackle them are various. However, the law system is basically the same as in the rest of the world. Because of population there is always a huge burden of cases in any court in India. Lawyers have to say a lot in a very short time. This requires brevity and a well-planned selection selection of words.
    There is a slight variation as compared to the US system; Jury selection of a foreign thing in India. Judges are very few and always in short supply. Another variation is in the language. Here the lawyers have to be well-converstant with two languages-Vernacular and English. In District court bi-lingual proceedings are allowed whreas in High Courts, Tribunals and above only English is allowed.s problems in India are different but the procedural aspect is more or less the same. Thus legal system of any country can fit in India.
    Since problems are many, only important matters get proper legal attention. For petty cases lawyers have to struggle real hard to get justice for their clients.
    This calls for high level of persuading or convincing skills and this brings us to the art of cross examination, argumentation and articulate prepartion of briefs. This consumes a great deal of time and efforts. Return, of course, is not so great in terms of money.
    I hope the above would give you an idea as to how to help Indian students and lawyers. The world has become very small and no country is foreign. Many universities and institutions from the world over have settled their base in India and making their system popular.

  6. Some tips on jury selection – methods/techniques to help with the conversational flow rather than just a question and answer session. I know every jury panel is different, but…

  7. How about evidence presentation, I am trying to present evidence that makes my case but having a hard time with the best way to present. I want to just present it but I think a story presentation would make a much better presentation but not sure how to combine the story with the evidence and how that evidence provides enough proof of a breach in the law, (intended language), for a civil case.

  8. I am a brand new prosecutor (since April ’08). I always find the introductory questions a little awkward. Trying to get my witness pinpointed on the event that they are here to testify about – without being too leading.

    Also – perhaps a couple basic things for us newbies to keep in mind. When I am handed a folder what is the best method for screening my case and making sure I can cover all my elements?


  9. On cross examination, how would you handle a witness who just wouldn’t give yes or no answers? I’ve heard several tips, but I would be very interested in reading your technique.

  10. These liitle tips are fabulous. I am a Barrister in England and I find them helpful, though the jury selection ones are not applicable. I would want you to do something on doing closing submissions for the bench, as I am civil advocate who does not appear before juries.

  11. How about an article on presenting exhibits during trial? I recently had a problem where I wanted to show the jurors a small object (a shell casing) but wasn’t sure of the best way to present it. Is there a better way than just handing it to them and letting the jurors pass it along?

    Thanks again for your great tips. I love the podcasts – I listen to them in the car on my way into work!