The newest book devoted exclusively to cross-examination is Cross-Examination Handbook: Persuasion, Strategies & Techniques. Here is the book’s website and here is its Amazon page. Here is the cover and a list of the book’s chapters:
1. Introduction to Book, CD, & Website
2. Purposes of Cross & the Total Trial Approach
3. The Content & Concession-Seeking Cross
4. Constructing the Cross: Your Chance to Testify
5. Impeachment Cross: Reliability
6. Impeachment Cross: Report
7. Impeachment Cross: Reporter
8. Character & Conduct in Trial
9. Witness Control: Strategies & Techniques
10. Preparing the Winning Cross-Examination
11. Cross-Examining Expert Witnesses
12. Forgetters, Perjurers, Adverse Witnesses, Deponents, & More
13. Ethical & Legal Boundaries of Cross
14. Cases & Assignments
I have been looking for a good and current book devoted to cross-examination. This book meets that need.
The authors provide a comprehensive overview of cross-examination from case theory development to executing cross with difficult witnesses. The book is well organized and easy to read. The book manages to be basic enough to be a good choice for a trial practice class and advanced enough to be valuable to experienced lawyers. I consider myself in the latter category, so I will address how reading this book helped me.
I have become frustrated in the last few years with the inconsistency of my cross-examinations. I have had crosses that other lawyers told me were the best that they have ever seen. But I have also had crosses that were mediocre—at least to me. I put exhaustive preparation into both categories, so I could not figure out what seperated the great ones from the mediocre ones. I think that I have the answer after reading this book. What is it? I’m not saying. Read the book. Find your own secrets.
There is one point on which I disagree with the authors. The book advocates taking “full discovery,” which includes deposing all witnesses who the opposing party may call at trial. I disagree.
I believe that there are valid reasons for not deposing the other side’s witnesses, particularly their expert witnesses. I think that you need to weigh all the factors and make a decision about who to depose. I disagree with mindlessly scheduling depositions of all potential witnesses. You may end up doing the opposing side a favor by doing this. But that is a minor quibble on a side issue. The book’s organized approach explaining how to prepare for and exectute a good cross is fantastic.
Finally, the book’s price point makes it a real bargain. The sticker price is $39.50 and you can save a couple of bucks on Amazon. That is a really good price for a trial practice book. There is no excuse for this book not being in every litigator’s library.