A while back I tried to read Your Witness, Lessons on Cross-Examination and Life from Great Chicago Trial Lawyers, edited by Steven F. Molo and James R. Figliulo. The book is devoted to cross-examination techniques. The average customer review on Amazon is 4 and half stars, which is higher than the average review for The Art of Cross Examination.
The format of the book is a compilation where fifty well-known Chicago trial lawyers each wrote a chapter that was several pages in length. The chapters cover different topics, so in theory there is no over-lap.
I read about half the book. Some of the chapters were quiet good. Others were kind of lame and a chore to read. Many of the authors told a war story from a past trial.
Personally, I don’t care for trial war stories unless there is a punch line involved. You can’t go wrong by taking a vow to never tell a war story from a trial unless there is humor to the story. Even then, there are many times when the only people who appreciate the story are people who were actually in the trial with you. If you want to see some trial lawyers’ eyes glaze over, tell them a long trial war story with no humor in it. You will remind them of Ted Striker from Airplane.
I am also not a fan of war stories from losing trials. The reason should be obvious: if the cross-examination or whatever was that great, shouldn’t you (or I) have won the trial?
But I digress. I am not a big fan of the compilation format. I highly recommend McElhaney’s Trial Notebook. I am less of a fan of McElhaney’s Litigation, which is a compilation of individual articles. This may be just a personal preference on my part. I don’t like reading a book full of short stories either. I always seem to start compilation books, but cannot finish them. That is what happened here.
The book costs only $29.50 on Amazon. So I can recommend buying it to have in your litigation library as a resource, even if you do not intend to read it cover to cover.