How to Try a Jury Case

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Anyone who properly prepares for trial and follows common-sense rules of persuasion and advocacy can be a good advocate in the courtroom. How to Try a Jury Case is an essential text for training law school students, as well as beginning litigators, to communicate with jurors and achieve their clients' objectives at trial.

Author John Kimberling tells how to prepare a case for trial and leads the lawyer through the opening statement, presentation of evidence, cross-examination, and closing argument. By studying this text, the beginner will avoid common mistakes.

Reviews

"This book should be required reading for all young litigators with little jury trial experience. It comprehensively covers most of the hurdles facing a new jury trial lawyer. It is written by a masterful trial lawyer. Jack Kimberling was the best trial lawyer I saw in my nearly 50 years in court rooms."

       — Francis J. MacLaughlin, White & Case (retired partner)

"Mr. Kimberling's book gives good value to lawyers by offering "hidden gems" in preparing for and conducting a jury trial, such as keeping your last peremptory challenge because the next juror presented might be worse than the one you were going to challenge [and] making sure that the Judge actually says aloud that exhibits you offer are "admitted." Kimberling also includes several VERY useful lists of questions to ask jurors and witnesses. This is a first rate book!"

       — William B. Thompson, Attorney, Wheaton, Illinois

Authors / Contributors

Table of Contents

Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction


1. PREPARATION
Do You Take the Case?
Investigation
Theme of the Case
Settlement Evaluation and Discussions
Pre-Trial Motions
Discovery
Expert Witness
Preparation As the Trial Date Approaches

2. COMMENCEMENT OF THE TRIAL
General Conduct during Trial

3. VOIR DIRE
The Procedure
Conducting the Voir Dire Examination
Concluding the Examination

4. THE OPENING STATEMENT
Purpose of the Opening Statement
Preparing the Statement
The Theme of Your Case
Some Rules and Guidelines
Objections to Opponent's Opening Statement
Concluding the Opening Statement

5. DIRECT EXAMINATION OF WITNESSES
Methods of Proof
Determining Whom to Call
Preparing Your Witness to Testify
Presenting the Testimony
Proof of Damages
Calling Your Opponent As an Adverse Witness
Objections to Questions on Direct Examination
Use of an Interpreter
Re-Direct Examination

6. CROSS-EXAMINATION OF WITNESSES
Constructive Cross-Examination
Impeachment
Competence of the Witness
Bias, Prejudice, or Interest
Prior Conviction of a Crime
Prior Inconsistent Statement
Reputation for Truthfulness
Some Rules and Guidelines

7. REHABILITATION OF YOUR WITNESSES
Explaining an Answer
Reputation for Truthfulness
Conviction of a Crime
Bias, Prejudice, or Interest
Prior Inconsistent Statement
When There Is Nothing That Helps

8. THE EXPERT WITNESS
Selecting an Expert
Working with Your Expert
Learning the Opposing Expert's Opinion
Preparing Your Expert for His Deposition
Putting Your Expert on the Stand
Cross-Examination of Opposing Expert
Methods of Impeaching and Attacking His Opinion
Some General Thoughts on Cross-Examination of Expert Witnesses

9. CLOSING ARGUMENT
The Procedure
Nature of the Closing Argument
Discussion of the Law
Some Rules and Guidelines
Damages
Objecting to Your Opponent's Closing Argument
Concluding the Argument

10. SOME CONCLUDING THOUGHTS
APPENDIX A: Rules for Depositions
APPENDIX B: Instructions for Witnesses at Trial

Index