Chaptering Your Cross
Created on May 23, 2017
The phrase, "Chaptering Your Cross" is designed to reinforce the notion that cross-examining a witness is not a free-flowing discussion that you can do off the cuff like a toast at a wedding. Instead, the lawyer must undergo a mind-shift and view cross-examination as a series of small discussions (chapters) on individual topics of importance to the lawyer, with each chapter having a specific purpose or goal. Cross-examination in the "Chapter Method" moves from topic to topic, not necessarily in chronological order.
The chapter method of cross-examination is hands-down the most effective teaching model in a system as adversarial as litigation. An attorney who doesn't use the chapter method of cross is squandering an opportunity to exploit "the greatest legal engine ever invented for the discovery of truth." John H. Wigmore, quoted in Lilly v. Virginia, 527 U.S. 116 (1999). Sure, the attorney might be able to score points, but not in any particular order. As a result, the jurors will be left with the unenviable task of having to reassemble the facts in order to understand the points that the cross-examiner was attempting to make. Learn how to avoid those mistakes and effectively chapter your cross from seasoned trial attorney Michael DeBlis.
- Use the chapter method to better support your theory of the case
- Utilize the chapter method to make better use of the available facts, and more efficiently put those facts into context
- Understand how to prioritize the topics you want to address in your cross-examination
- Discuss how to address the "bad facts" in your case
- Review impeachment in cross-examination
- Gain insight into how to use your voice and tone to support your cross
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