Practice Tips from the Pros

By August 3, 2012

Practice Tips from the Pros
We hope everyone is having a great summer!  We asked our name partners at KKSKL to share some of their favorite practice tips when getting ready to head into the courtroom:
Alan Kluger – I like to measure the court room before trial so that I can appropriately display my exhibits and decide how I want to work the room.  For my out of town trials, I get the courtroom layouts before I travel.  My goal is to control 60-70% of the jury’s visual space.  When I appear in control of the court room, juries find my evidence to be more authoritative than that of my opponents.
Abbey Kaplan – I always start off a deposition or trial by asking the witness if he or she is taking any medications that may impact the testimony.  I have gotten some interesting answers over the years.  Sometimes, the answer can impact a witness’ ability to testify.  Other times, that question causes the witness to lose focus of the purpose of their testimony.
Steve Silverman – When taking the deposition of a hostile witness, sometimes I skip background questions.  I don’t even introduce myself or make any introductory remarks.  Instead, I go right for the jugular with a question of significant magnitude for the case.  I find it throws witnesses off, causing them to give an unrehearsed answer, which I can use to guide the questioning now that I have established control over the deposition.  If necessary, I can always come back to the issue when the record is more developed later on in the deposition.
Bruce Katzen – In law school they taught me never to ask a question at trial that I don’t already know the answer to.  But I have found that asking all the questions at deposition gives the witness time to prepare and be coached into giving the “right” answer so sometimes, for hot-button issues, I go in blind.  I have been very successful in getting answers from witnesses who were not expecting to hear questions that I did not already ask at their depositions.
Todd Levine –  I find that the way to be the most effective lawyer is to out-prepare my opponent. I make sure I thoroughly know my case, the evidence and the applicable law before heading into deposition or court. I also make sure to thoroughly research every witness, using Google, LinkedIn, Facebook and other internet resources.  As obvious as it sounds, most lawyers don’t follow this basic but essential rule.