Direct Examination: Telling the Jury Your Story
Trials--with the jury seated and witnesses on the stand--are the pinnacle event of any given piece of litigation, and are often depicted in stories and television shows. Typically, focus is given to a brilliant cross examination that exposes a dirty witness for the whole Courtroom to see.
The truth, though it is perhaps a bit more mundane, is that cases are largely won on the strength of direct testimony of key witnesses. So what is a direct examination? It's when the party's attorney interviews, in front of the jury, a witness put on by that party. And in many cases, the client is the most important witness.
Why is direct testimony so powerful and important? For a party to the case, this is your primary method for telling your story to the jury. This is where they get to know you, personally, and where the jury assesses your own credibility, likeability, and your propensity to tell the truth. Direct examination is also an excellent way head off potential weaknesses in your case.
In a recent trial, our law firm was concerned about the way a certain set of facts about our client could be spun by the opposition to the detriment of our case. Rather than waiting for a cross examination, we brought the facts out for the jury and were able to control the narrative surrounding those facts and neutralize them. We ultimately won a sizeable verdict!
Crafting excellent direct testimony requires incredible practice between counsel and client in order to fully understand the nuances and points to get across to the jury, and in this particular case, we spent many hours on preparation and practice.
If you have a case that you suspect may need to go all the way to a jury trial, give the lawyers at Asheville Legal a call today to find out how we can help!