- Hardcover: 734 pages
- Publisher: Lexis Law Pub (June 1993)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1558340718
- ISBN-13: 978-1558340718
- Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 7.2 x 10.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #430,506 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Cross-Examination: Science & Techniques
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Top Customer Reviews
I am a criminal defense attorney in Chicago and I cannot wait to really employ these methods in full. Many of you already use parts of this system and don't know it. This was certainly true for me. I know never to ask an open ended question on cross but never really knew a way to get the same information without giving the witness the chance to give a long, self-serving answer. Unfortunately, I have done it and have been badly burned. Never again.
The most important thing I learned was why it's so bad and ineffective to ask the standard conclusory question on cross. We have all been there. You have a witness answering yes to all your questions and then you kill it with..."so, you agree that [insert conclusion here]?" And the witness says "No. I don't agree counselor. What I said was [enter harmful explanation here]." I will NEVER do that again. Why? After reading this book I know how to get what I want out of the witness without giving the opportunity for a narrative answer that hurts my case.
If you earn your fees on your feet in a courtroom trying cases, this might be the best investment you will ever make. I am that serious.
My entire practice was transformed some years ago when I adopted the authors' cross-examination-centered method of case preparation as set out in the first edition of their book (Roger Dodd, by the way, is a co-author of the second edition as well as the first edition). Not surprisingly, because the authors' method enables the lawyer to master case facts quickly and efficiently it is as helpful in negotiating settlements as it is in actually trying cases. I will not say that the techniques are necessarily quick or easy--I can recall spending eight hours laboring over questions for a major cross examination that took exactly one-half hour in court--but it produces stunning, consistent, results.
How does the second edition differ from the first edition? Well, the authors appear to have noticed that computers have been invented. The first edition's defiantly Luddite tone emphasizing the usefulness of manual pasteup of criss-cross charts and such has modulated into a respectful acknowledgement of such things as outlining programs and databases. Second, the authors provide many more examples in the second edition of the uses of the methods in complex civil litigation, as opposed to felony criminal trials. Also, although this book is not, and does not pretend to be, a primer on discovery management in document-intensive cases, its presentation of the concepts enables the reader at least to envision how the systems might be applied.
In addition, when I read the first edition I found the amount of information in this book simply overwhelming. Perhaps because the text is not quite as densely crammed into the page, or perhaps because I have been studying this material for years, with the help of a hilarious audiotape of a Pozner and Dodd lecture, the second edition seems less overwhelming. I noticed that the authors' quirky turns of phrase have been somewhat smoothed out, alas ("sliding off" objections is now described as "dealing with" objections); simultaneously, a number of minor, annoying typos have crept in, mostly errant commas and subject-verb disagreements.
One additional comment about the physical book--it is printed on heavier paper than the first edition. This is a Good Thing. The first edition was on very thin paper, almost like a bible, which made the pages almost transparent; I nearly wore them out. The second edition is more durable and more readable.
The verdict: probably not worth replacing your first edition with a copy of the second edition (unless you never bought the pocket part update on "The Crying Witness," worth the price of the new volume). But if you don't own this book, and you fancy yourself a trial lawyer, what are you waiting for? There are Only Three Rules of good-cross examination, but the Only Three Rules are just the beginning of a durable analytical structure adaptable to all trial work.