Cross-examination Techniques #2 - Your first point of attack
What to ask first when it's your turn to cross-examine
Anything good for their side likely hurts yours. Their witness has just scored points against your side. You can feel them as arrows striking home. It's time to change the momentum and score a few points for your side. What's your first move? This is the technique of this episode.
Indeed, the primary reason you request a short break after the completion of the direct examination of that witness is to allow you the time to decide where to attack first. To put your five-and-outs into the best sequence that accounts for what occurred during the direct.
Unless there is something in your preparation outline that you feel that you must address first, take apart the last point that the direct examiner made.
This tactic has several benefits.
· It shifts the momentum from their side to yours.
· It lets the decision-maker know that the story is not quite so one-sided as it appeared from the story told on direct.
· It puts the witness on the defensive – a change of demeanour from confident storyteller to wary confessor.
· It builds your confidence. You might show confidence, but a quick win – however small – makes you feel as strongly as you want to project.
You may have already prepared a five-and-out sequence to deal with the last point made by the witness during the direct examination. If so, happy day. Use it. Maybe refine it in light of what the witness actually said, as opposed to what you predicted would happen.
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