What Not to Do in Cross-Examination

As a labor arbitrator and hearing officer, I’ve listened to dozens, if not hundreds, of witnesses being cross-examined. In legal training, there’s a lot of focus on how to examine a witness. Baby lawyers learn how to ask a direct question versus a leading question, how to lay a foundation, and how to craft a question to avoid objections.

There are great books and programs that teach people examination skills, but they don’t spend much time on the tone that a lawyer should deploy to effectively cross-exam a witness, so lawyers learn from tricks from television. This…