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Chaptering Your Cross

(1k+ reviews)

Produced on May 23, 2017

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Course Information

Time 1h 32m
Difficulty Intermediate
Topics covered in this course: Litigation

Course Description

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. 

Learning Objectives:
  1. Use the chapter method to better support your theory of the case
  2. Utilize the chapter method to make better use of the available facts, and more efficiently put those facts into context
  3. Understand how to prioritize the topics you want to address in your cross-examination
  4. Discuss how to address the “bad facts” in your case
  5. Review impeachment in cross-examination
  6. Gain insight into how to use your voice and tone to support your cross

Credit Information

After completing this course, Lawline will report your attendance information to {{ accredMasterState.state.name }}. Please ensure your license number is filled out in your profile to ensure timely reporting. For more information, see our {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} CLE Requirements page . After completing this course, {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} attorneys self-report their attendance and CLE compliance. For more information on how to report your CLE courses, see our {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} CLE Requirements FAQ .


Michael J. DeBlis, III

DeBlis & DeBlis Law Firm

Michael J. Deblis, III is a passionate trial lawyer. He puts his heart and soul into fighting for his clients. Michael is a living example of the tremendous power that comes from combining passion, preparation, persuasion, and positive communication in the courtroom.


As a former public defender, Michael has defended the poor, the forgotten, and the damned against a government that has seemingly unlimited resources to investigate and prosecute criminal allegations. He has spent the last six years cutting his teeth on some of the most serious felony cases, obtaining results that have proven favorable for his clients. He knows what it’s like to go toe to toe with the government. In an adversarial environment that is akin to trench warfare, Michael has developed a reputation as a fearless litigator.


Michael graduated – cum laude – from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School. He then earned his LL.M. in International Tax and Financial Services at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, graduating summa cum laude. Michael’s unique background in tax law puts him into an elite category of criminal defense attorneys who specialize in criminal tax defense. His extensive trial experience and solid grounding in all major areas of federal taxation make him uniquely qualified to handle any white-collar case, no matter how sophisticated it might be.


Michael is known for his creativity, his charismatic personality, and his unyielding dedication to his clients. As a graduate of the National Criminal Defense College, Michael has trained under some of the best known criminal defense attorneys in the country. That experience has taught him that justice for a person accused of a crime is only won through a full understanding of the client and the case. To that end, Michael attempts to understand each client’s case as a convincing narrative, not just as a set of innocuous facts and arcane legal rules.


Michael has been featured on the media affiliates of several major media networks, including NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, and CNN.


Michael is a prolific writer in the area of foreign asset reporting and voluntary disclosure. He has written articles that have been featured in leading tax journals such as CCH Journal of Tax Practice and Procedure, Global Tax Weekly, and ABA News Quarterly.


A passionate blogger, Michael's blogs have appeared on TaxConnections' "Worldwide Tax Blogs" and most recently, on the About.com "Tax Planning" blog.


Michael is committed to understanding the needs of each client and tailoring a litigation plan to meet those needs. His courage and relentless work ethic have earned him a reputation as a zealous advocate and one of New Jersey’s rising stars of the legal profession.


Larry W.

I’ve done over 100 trials his cross explanation was outstanding.

Bryan P.

Great presentation

Erik G.

Appreciated especially the examples at the end that went into depth on a specific cross and adding all the extra details.

Eric B.

Best course I've listend to on here

Brian O.

that was an excellent lecture.

Leslie R.

This is one of the best courses on cross examination I have taken on this website.

Cynthia J. T.

well done by Mr. DeBlis III... engaging

Peter S.

although focused on criminal law cases, the examples were useful.

Mark R.

One of the best most practical course I have ever taken

Stephen N.

excellent course

John H.

very helpful an practical

Ben P.

Great cross-examination information for any attorney!

Thomas S.

Great material, great presentation.

John F.

One of the best and most interesting CLE's I've ever taken. Great job!

Nicholas R.

As a younger litigator, this was fabulously helpful for me.

Ron V.

Good course for litigators -- provides many good pointers for developing cross examination strategies and questions

Eric C.

Wow! I've steered my career away from trial thinking I was no Perry Mason and was too much into details and facts. It seems I shouldn't have been. These techniques seem very well suited to my strengths..

Jeffrey D.

Good CLE

Nathan B.

The presenter did a very good job and was engaging.

David L.


Bonnie M.

Very engaging.

Monica G.

This was a good CLE. Very good hands-on examples, really found this helpful as I struggle with cross-examinations. Thank you.

Kristin C.

This was my favourite CLE yet!

Paul D.

Good program on cross-examination.

Robert E.

extremely good presentation

Geoffrey D.

I believe this is the second time I have heard this presenter. He does a good job giving practical and strategic advice, such as when he ran through the questions concerning the felon.

Thomas M.

Good course!

Patrick K.


John T.

One of the best Lawline on demand courses I’ve ever taken!

Elisa A.

The presenter was an obviously experienced trial attorney who gave very practical advice.

Daniel C.

It was an energetic presentation of cross examination goals and techniques.

George B.

This is an outstanding program on cross-examination: clear, concise, and practical. I hope LawLine will consider using this speaker for a longer program next time on this and other trial presentation topics. The subject warrants it, and the speaker is extremely good.

John C.

This is a superb program.

Robert W.

great presenter. i have done many cross examinations and i learned a lot.

Kamela W.

this was by far the best and most useful CLE I have taken.

Thomas S.

Attorney DeBlis constructed a very incisive and thoughtful presentation.

Tiyesha D.

Class was very engaging. I'd say the best (by far) course on dealing with cross examination I have taken. Class took more than the allotted time because I would re-listen. A++. My favorite lawline class to date.

William Z.

Excellent presentation.

Thomas S.

I took more notes during this than any CLE yet

Keith D.

A good introduction to the chapter method of cross examination

Joseph M.

Great Cross examples and tutorials.

Frank E.

Excellent precise program -- much needed

Cecil F.

Best lecturer and comprehensive course material ever.

Christopher C.

This is an excellent presentation on how to make a strong impact on cross examination!

Darrell R. J.

Mr. DeBlis is without question one of the most talented and polished lecturers among a distinguished faculty at Lawline. I only hope you can persuade him to develop another course soon!

William D.

Substantive and useful approach

Donna A.

I liked the examples.

Laura M.

The presenter was extremely persuasive and clear...I learned quite a bit about what I was hoping to learn. Thank you

Kimberly B.

Very helpful tips and well delivered

Jayelene B.

Very thorough and informative!

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