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The No Nonsense Approach

The course of a trial is often very different from what is shown on television. The very best trials proceed in a smooth way with a minimum of theatrics. The tempo should really be one of consistent questioning and answering, and very little in the way of objecting. To be sure, objections may be necessary but long speaking objections are not. The best approach is for the objecting lawyer to stand and say “Objection”, and then for the lawyer to state the grounds succinctly.

If we have a sense of what is appreciated in the questioning of witnesses, do we know what works in all aspects of a trial? Lawyers are always endeavoring to find the magic answer as to what influences a jury. Because the secrecy of jury deliberations is protected, none of us can really know what specifically influences a jury. The judges talk to the jurors after the verdict in the jury room; the attorneys are not permitted to speak to jurors. However, I have attended numerous seminars where judges speak about what works before a jury and what does not. The common wisdom is that jurors do not need repetition, that they appreciate courtesy, and that, as with any presentation, clarity is valued. All are, it seems to me, reasonable expectations.

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