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Trial Skills


Rethinking Credibility and the Burden of Proof
By Kenneth R. Berman
The Blasey Ford/Kavanaugh hearing provides a backdrop for examining the four stages of credibility and how factual disputes are actually resolved.

Preliminary Injunctions: Live or Die on Powerful Evidence of Wrongdoing
By Erik A. Christiansen
Before filing, carefully consider the quality of the supporting evidence.

Stagecraft for Trial Lawyers: Insights from the Theater World
By Peter B. Bensinger Jr.
Improve your court appearances using these insights from the theater world.

Protecting the Kingdom from Technological Disasters: Horseshoe Nails for the Modern Litigator
By Jean-Marie Crahan
Simple tools can prevent large disasters amid rapidly evolving digital technology.

The Secrets of Cross-Examination: How to Avoid the Pitfalls at Trial
By Timothy B. Walthall
Cross-examination is the only unscripted interaction with another human being in the course of the trial—and arguably the hardest thing a trial advocate does in the courtroom.

You and Your Client Deserve More Than a Fee Agreement
By Kelly Rittenberry Culhane
Problems with clients often begin with a perceived lack of responsiveness and poor communication.

Judges Speaking Softly: What They Long for When They Read
By Ross Guberman
A survey of judges reveals what they like and dislike in motions and briefs.

Make the First Answer the Best Answer
By Kenneth R. Berman
Witnesses should be more forthcoming than convention dictates; terse answers make it seem as if they are hiding something, and redirect is an imperfect fix.

Opening Statement: Nine Tips that Help Junior Associates Become Successful
By Koji F. Fukumura
Advice from a 25-year veteran lawyer.

Global Litigator: A Litigator's Primer on European Union and American Privacy Laws and Regulations
By Zachary S. Heck
The differences between information sharing in the United States and information sharing in the European Union are rooted both in the law and in cultural attitude.

Sidebar: Regrets, I’ve Had a Few…
By Kenneth P. Nolan
Lessons learned from not reading the fine print.

May It Displease the Court
By Hon. Bridget Mary McCormack and Len Niehoff
Lessons from Supreme Court arguments that didn't go well.

Effective Strategies in Drafting and Enforcing Non-Competes
By Edward H. Pappas and Daniel D. Quick
Societal skepticism is growing about non-competes, but they are important tools when used with care.

Effective Strategies for Cross-Examining an Expert Witness
By Thomas C. O'Brien and David D. O'Brien
Most lawyers lose ground when cross-examining experts. Here's how to avoid doing so.

When Bankruptcy Intervenes: The Pros and Cons of Bankruptcy Court Jurisdiction
By David J. Richardson
The pros and cons of bankruptcy court jurisdiction.

Sidebar: Adapt to Your Audience
By Kenneth P. Nolan
Everything you do as a lawyer—how you act, look, and sound—is evaluated.

Nine Tips for Civil Trials from a Prosecutor Turned Judge
By Hon. Gregg J. Costa
What civil litigators can learn from their trial-hardened colleagues in the criminal bar.

Settlement Negotiations: Balanced Beats Brazen
By Dan A. Bailey
Too often we think that the best settlement can be achieved only through overly aggressive and blustery tactics.

Opening Statement: Ten Tips for Making Motions Better
By Laurence F. Pulgram
The reality is that vastly more cases are resolved through motion practice than through trials.

Five Questions Litigators Should Ask Before Hiring an Investigator
By  Philip Segal
Lawyers who hire private investigators have an ethical duty to supervise them.

Artificial Intelligence May Force Legal Community to Reconsider Rules of Evidence
By John F. Barwell
In a few years, voice forgeries may be so good they can fool experts.

Gaslighting in Litigation
By Alyson A. Foster
Preparing and trusting in yourself can help you avoid this manipulation technique.

Insurance 101 for Litigators: Minimizing Risk and Maximizing Recovery
By Kristen E. Hudson
In an uncertain world, it is important to understand how to maximize protection and recovery from this important asset.

Claude Monet and the Theory of Your Case
By Michael E. Tigar
Can juror impressions change during the shared journey of a trial?

How Effective Trial Attorneys Present
By Hon. Robert S. Lasnik
Attorneys who have seen jurors reward brevity and efficiency while punishing repetition and inefficiency realize that it isn't only trial judges who don't appreciate tactics that waste time.

Ethics: Handle with Care
By Bruce Green
What should a litigator do upon receiving potentially helpful documents that may be unlawful to use?

Making a Difference
By Kenneth P. Nolan
If you wish to make a difference, law provides many options.

Eight More Tips for Practicing Law
By Steven A. Weiss
Thoughts on how to practice law effectively.

How to Deal with Clients
By Kenneth P. Nolan
It doesn't matter if your client is a sophisticated general counsel or a mug who never made it past sixth grade. They know best.

I’m a Lawyer, Not a Fighter: Conquering Lawyer Bullies
By Kelley Barnett
These tips will help you conquer the lawyer bully: one who preys on younger or less experienced lawyers.

Seven Tips on How to Behave in Court
By Steven A. Weiss
Most of us remember something that happened the first (or maybe second or third) time we appeared in court that would not have happened had we been a little more experienced.

Acquisition and Merger: Whose Privilege Is It Now?
By Edna Selan Epstein
Take care to eliminate any uncertainty surrounding which entity can claim the privilege.

Opening Lines
By Charles N. Insler
The opening line of a brief introduces the subject matter, sets the tone of the argument, and casts the case in the most favorable light..

Be Not Afraid
By Kenneth P. Nolan
Ego prevents good lawyers from becoming great.

The Dos and Don'ts of Settlement Conferences
By Hon. James L. Cott
A magistrate judge observes the many things lawyers do to enhance the settlement process—and those done to impede it.

Seven Tips for Writing Briefs and Motions
By Steven A. Weiss
Practical advice on persuasive writing from a veteran litigator.

A Short Primer on Objections
By Stuart M. Israel
A few things about evidentiary objections that lawyers ought to know.

Seven Tips for Being a Better Lawyer
By Steven A. Weiss
Advice derived from 35 years of practice, exclusively as a business litigator.

Differentiating Yourself
By Chip Babcock
To be a great lawyer, you have to differentiate yourself from your peers.

A Primer on the Finality of Decisions for Appeal
By Brian C. Walsh
An examination of the main strands of the law of finality and appealability, including some recent Supreme Court developments.

The Art of Effective Communication
By Kenneth P. Nolan
Becoming an effective trial lawyer requires a worldliness that evolves slowly.

How to Wow
By Nancy Scott Degan
Ten tips for becoming the litigator everyone listens to at meetings.

The Epidemic of Self-Promotion
By Kenneth P. Nolan
What to do—and what not to do—to promote yourself.

Important: Avoid Beginning Sentences with "The Court Held That . . ."
By George D. Gopen
Learn why this phrase damages the reader's interpretation process.

Thermostats That Testify—Who Knew?
By Frank Sommers
Digital devices mean new data is available in discovery.

Social Media: #RealDiscovery
By William Hamilton
Social media evidence has arrived. Here are four principles for social media e-discovery.

Political Cover and Consulting Experts
By Maria E. Rodriguez
A consulting expert can help you get the information you need in order to give your client sound advice.

Going Too Far with Witnesses
By Kenneth P. Nolan
You can learn to ask piercing questions, but it is harder to know when to stop, sit down, and shut up.

How to Protect Data from Uncle Sam
By Sharon D. Nelson and John W. Simek
At least once a week we are reminded that law firms' cybersecurity is at risk.

Top Ten First Trial Mistakes
By Kelley Barnett
The author shares common traps for litigators hoping to ace their first trial.

Practical Advice from a Practical Lawyer
By Nancy Scott Degan
An experienced lawyer distills 30 years into 10 tips.

Your Opponent Can Discover Your Experts
By Maria E. Rodriguez
Case law supports routine discovery requests for consulting experts' names.

Section Members Share Their Secrets for Success
By Don Bivens
Litigation readers offer practical advice to advance our profession.

Deposition Preparation: The Four Simple Rules
By Edna Selan Epstein
All clients, even sophisticated ones, need to be told how to achieve a successful deposition.

Archival Research on the Web
By Don MacLeod
For litigators, the web is an overlooked resource for turning up factual information about the past.

Securing Your Data in a World of Remote Access
By Frank Sommers
This overview of privacy and technology policies may help firms avoid malpractice charges.

Fourteen Tips to Make You a Better Litigator
By Don Bivens
These practice tips will help you bring out your best in both motions and the courtroom.

How to Winnow Arguments on Appeal
By Martin J. Siegel
Too many arguments in a brief makes them all seem weak. Where do you draw the line?

Winning a Motion
By Kenneth P. Nolan
Motions have become more important due to the increasing number of cases that settle. Here are some tips for handling them.

How to Take Advantage of Courtroom Technology
By Lance Bachman
Evidence presentation systems can help your case—but first you need to understand how to get permission and then use them.

Electric Kool-Aid Judgment Test: Making Your Papers Come Alive
By Frank Sommers and Rob Bunzel
Linking complex briefs and their exhibits in electronic documents can help judges follow your argument.

Tips for Lawyers Writing in a Time Crunch
By Anna Hemingway and Jennifer Lear
These guidelines for writing on a tight deadline help provide relief for stressed litigators.

Leading Your Way Through Cross-Examination
By Kelley Barnett
Maintain control during cross-examination by using leading questions to support your testimony.

Collecting Data from Mobile Devices
By Michael Arnold
The power, convenience, and affordability of mobile devices pose challenges for lawyers. Discover your options.

Defending Masters of the Universe in White-Collar Cases
By Ashish S. Joshi and Andrew Bossory
It isn't a crime to be rich, but defending the rich often brings its own set of issues.

Lawyer Marketing: Decent Exposure
By Pamela Sakowicz Menaker
In today's competitive environment, litigators need to promote themselves in a manner that reflects their personal style.

How to Conduct a Paperless Trial
By David L. Masters
How you manage documents affects your ability to go to trial without paper.

Second Chairs Are Coaches, Not Benchwarmers
By Amy Jane Longo
A second chair's role is to make sure everyone is properly prepared for the competition and has everything needed to succeed.

How Social Media Are Transforming Litigation
By Andy Radhakant and Matthew Diskin
From gathering evidence to jury behavior, few changes have affected trials as swiftly as social media.

Winning the Internet with Social Media
By Jason Beahm
A law firm is a brand, and social media can keep it first in your clients' minds.

Finding Bad Jurors
By Kelley Barnett
Skillful, confident jury selection can mean the difference between winning and losing.

The Admissibility of Social Media Evidence
By Josh Gilliland
Behind the mad dash to introduce social media evidence lies potentially complex issues of authentication and hearsay.

E-Discovery's "Prime Principle" for the Rule 26(f) Conference
By William Hamilton
The failure to grasp the essential operating principles of computers leads to conscious and unconscious violations of the e-discovery prime principle.

Be Careful What You Reveal: Model Rule of Professional Conduct 1.6
By Edward W. Feldman
Two lawyers from different firms walk into a bar—and run afoul of Model Rule of Professional Conduct 1.6.

The iPad for Litigators: Storming the Courtrooms
By Sharon D. Nelson and John W. Simek
Litigators are eagerly embracing the iPad. Here are the tablet's pluses and minuses, along with a review of some of the better apps.

Eight Google Skills All Litigators Should Master
By Don MacLeod
Some tools that can quickly improve the quality of Google searches are hiding in plain sight.

Mentoring—What Is Our Message?
By Joseph A. Greenaway Jr.
When attorney-client communications occur by email from home or work, the attorney-client privilege can easily be lost.

The Challenge of E-Communications: Privilege and Privacy
By John M. Barkett
When attorney-client communications occur by email from home or work, the attorney-client privilege can easily be lost.

Cutting Litigation Costs Without Compromise
By Olivier A. Taillieu and Mark Wolf
Your efforts to keep litigation costs low will be rewarded with repeat business and enthusiastic referrals.

The Potential Collateral Estoppel Effect of Foreign Judgments
By Peter P. Tomczak
Practitioners litigating in U.S. and foreign jurisdictions should understand the complex collateral estoppel principles of the rendering foreign state.

Cramming Cases into Existing Tests
By Alan L. Farkas
What should a lawyer do when a test has become obsolete and stands in the way of a client?

Preparing a Witness to Testify in the Grand Jury
By Stephen D. Brown and Christine C. Levin
It is a lawyer's responsibility to protect a grand jury witness from the very real threat of a perjury charge.

Key Steps to Successful Foreign Depositions
By Craig Allely
Minimize problems in taking depositions in international litigation by following these steps.

Are Settlements Sacrosanct?
By Jed S. Rakoff
When should a judge turn down a settlement that is presented for the judge's approval? Some would say never, but the answer is neither yes nor no, but rather, "it depends."

Reining in E-Discovery
By Geraldine Soat Brown
Electronic discovery is more important than ever, but receiving a request for ESI does not necessarily condemn a client to an expensive hunt through long-abandoned formats.