The Main Story: Your Direct Testimony
It has often been said by trial attorneys that a great direct examination is ultimately what will win a lawsuit, and here at Asheville Legal, we couldn’t agree more with this statement. While direct examinations are often not the focus of trials in movies or TV, the simple fact is that you and your attorney have no greater opportunity to control the narrative than at the moment you are delivering your direct examination.
Indeed, legal battles are most often won or lost based upon who can frame the dispute in the terms most favorable to them, based on the facts of a case. Your direct examination is your opportunity to tell the story. You get to tell the jury what matters, and why. It’s your opportunity to reach them and connect to them, so that they know what you’ve been put through in the dispute. You can also use your direct examination to identify and mitigate the damage from facts that might be used against you by the other side.
Delivering a great direct examination requires extensive preparation with your attorney. You and your attorney will develop a detailed outline of your testimony, covering the key points in your case and checking off the documents that need to come in. You will then need to practice it with your attorney a number of times. Ideally, the interplay between you and counsel should be fluid and though it should be extensively practiced, you do NOT want it to seem rehearsed to the jury, but instead natural.
On direct examination, your lawyer does not get to ask what are called “leading questions,” which are essentially questions to you that contain the answer within them. This is why the practice is so important–you won’t get to have your outline in from of you when the time comes to deliver your direct examination. When it comes to the introduction of documents, you and your lawyer will need to have a good plan to lay the foundation and hit the key points found in each document you plan to introduce.
At Asheville Legal, civil trial attorneys have worked with many counsel on delivering powerful and compelling direct examinations. We know what it takes to present your case at trial, so give us a call today to find out more.