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Effective Courtroom Advocacy

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ISBN: 9781601561244
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ISBN: 9781632814357
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With the benefit of more than twenty-three years of trial observation and juror feedback, Judge Joseph F. Anderson Jr. distills his thoughts on how to master the fundamentals of trial advocacy, develop advanced skills, and win arguments before judges and juries.

Written from the perspective of an experienced trial judge, Effective Courtroom Advocacy provides practical and insightful advice designed to empower new litigators and inspire seasoned advocates. Judge Anderson's conversational style offers a treasury of practical suggestions for conducting every aspect of trial, from dealing with courtroom personnel and handling difficult judges to comprehending troublesome evidentiary rules and avoiding common - but deadly - mistakes in the courtroom. A fireside chat that tackles the most prevalent courtroom issues, Effective Courtroom Advocacy is the go-to manual for litigators everywhere.

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Table of Contents





Chapter One. Trial Tactics


Trial Notebooks and Checklists

Developing a Theme

Motions in Limine

Sequestration of Witnesses

Courtroom Protocol

Opening Statement

Direct Examination

Introduction of Exhibits



The Proverbial "One Question Too Many"

Listen to the Answer

Know the Answers to Your Questions in Advance

Don't Quarrel with Witness

Redirect Examination




Resting Your Case

Miscellaneous Forensic Devices


Nonverbal Communication

Video Depositions


Preparing Proposed Jury Instructions

Dealing with Court Personnel

Composing and Delivering an Effective Summation

Use of Boilerplate

Use of Analogies

Leaving Questions for Your Opponent

Dealing with Credibility

Personalizing the Corporate Defendant

Arguing Damages

Educate the Jury

Empower the Jury

Review the Verdict Form

Do's and Don'ts of Closing Argument: A Quick Checklist

Receiving the Verdict

Chapter Two. What Today's Jurors Really Think

Don't Over-Try the Case

Don't Be Disrespectful to the Judge in Front of the Jury

Don't Attempt to Take Unfair Advantage of Your Opponent

Don't Use Legal Jargon

Don't Underestimate the Jury's Intelligence

Don't Make Unnecessary Interruptions, Especially Sidebar Conferences

Don't Move On Until the Jury Has Fully Viewed Your Documentary Evidence

Don't Be Overly Hostile When Cross-Examining Opposing Witnesses

Don't Use Inappropriate Humor

Other Miscellaneous Juror Insights

Cautionary Instructions Generally Don't Work

Jurors Have Short Attention Spans

Objections Don't Offend Jurors

Chapter Three. How to Handle Judges

The Generalist

The Manager

The Nitpicker

Frequent Requests for Extensions, Postponements, and Continuances

Discovery and Its Abuse

The Human

The Bully

The Weasel

Dealing with Judges Generally

Proposed Orders

Wrapping Up Your Argument

Reconsideration Requests

Getting in the Last Word

Honesty with the Court

After the Hearing

Chapter Four. Common Mistakes to Avoid

The "Not-Ready-for-Prime-Time" Lawyer

Opening Doors

Failing to Properly Preserve Error for Appeal

Inadequate Knowledge of Local Rules, Customs, and Mores

Putting on a Show for the Client

Inability to Change Strategy at Trial as Circumstances Warrant

Putting Interests of Lawyers and Witnesses Ahead of Jurors' Interests

Technology Overkill

Inadequate Familiarity with the Applicable Rules of Evidence

Chapter Five. A Survey of the Most Misunderstood and Misapplied Evidence Rules

The Proper Making of Objections

Problematic Evidence Rules

Character and Habit
Exceptions to the Bar on Character Evidence


Character of Witnesses

Refreshing Recollection vs. Past Recollection Recorded

Hearsay Generally

Admissions by a Party Opponent

Business Records


Prejudice, Confusion, and Waste of Time

Best Evidence Rule


Miscellaneous Evidence Concerns

Chapter Six. A Tangled Web: A Mock Trial Script and Case Study on the Federal Rules of Evidence

Chapter Seven. Examples of Good Advocacy

Opening Statement


Closing Argument