Tips for Quick, Effective Cross-Examination

Legal Compliance Resource
May 22, 2012 — 1,148 views  

Fast, efficient cross-examination is critical for attorneys looking to succeed in the courtroom, and understanding the process can help them handle these situations well. Check out the tips below to learn ways of improving your cross-examination skills.

Stay organized

Sometimes, the most timely information can work best to convince juries, so using principles of primacy and recency can prove effective when cross-examining a witness. Put your best foot forward, and ask your most pressing question of the witness first.

Also, be sure to end your queries with a question that you feel could sway the jury's decision in your client's favor. Staying organized is key to being successful, and you should control your questioning based on your client's needs rather than the order of your opposing counsel.

Use both types of cross-examination

Understanding the two types of cross-examination could prove valuable, and may provide you the best opportunity to assist your client.

Constructive cross-examination should be used when trying to gain testimony that may help your client. Meanwhile, destructive cross-examination promotes establishing and maintaining control of the questioning, as it involves asking simple, close-ended questions in which you essentially dare the witness to disagree with you. While constructive cross-examination is beneficial to getting a witness to agree with you, the destructive type can allow you to limit the effectiveness of a person's testimony.  

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