News and information useful to Cleveland-Marshall College of Law students, faculty and staff.

The Perfect Cross Examination Question

The Lawyerist blog points out some great cross-examination tips from the book Theater Tips and Strategies for Jury Trials by David Ball (which is available in library KF8915.Z9 B3 2003 ).  Per the Lawyerist:

“The perfect question is built not only to get the answer you anticipate, and one that helps you persuade the jury. It also denies the witness time to think of any response other than exactly the response you are looking for. And it elicits only one or two facts, making the question and the answer easy to understand.”

The following example is given:

Q1: You saw your roommate face-down on the floor when you walked in the room, right?

Same question (in essence) but closer to perfect:

Q2: You walked in the room…and saw your roommate face down on the floor. Right?

Question 2 is better because it does not give the witness time to think, and provokes an immediate answer.

The library also has some great videos on cross-examination, such as  Mastering the Art of Cross-Examination KF8920 .M37 2005.  And don’t forget about CourtRoom View Network’s Video Training Library which has snippets from real trials along with expert analysis and tips.  There are other books on trial advocacy and cross-examination, in the Atrium level stacks and in Room A066, mostly around call number KF 8900.  Also take a look at our Litigation resource guide.

(hat tip to the Legal Skills Prof Blog)

Photo:   In the witness box ready for cross-examination!? By NHN_2009

Courtroom View Network – Watch Trials, Listen to Assigned Cases

Our school is a subscriber of CVN Law School, an online resource that provides legal multimedia. You can listen to your assigned cases with audio opinions from AudioCaseFiles, watch real courtroom video and view training clips from the Video Training Library .   Make sure you create your account using your law school provided email address in order to get unlimited access to the audio and video content.

You can use AudioCaseFiles to search for audio opinions by subject or by casebook, download MP3 files of assigned cases and learn on the go. You can take notes as you go and save them to your account to see them later in class or print them out to bring with you.  Many cases have the text of the case available too, so you can read it on the screen or print it out, in case you forget your casebook or have not purchased your casebook yet.

Students use CVN video to see real high-stakes litigation and to see how attorneys develop their arguments. Search the CVN video by practice area or jurisdiction and then stream it onto your computer. Also, visit CVN Training for specific clips of attorneys executing litigation techniques and skills. Watch and learn how to effectively deliver your opening statement with power points or to see how to cross examining a hostile witness.

Register today:

  1. Go to
  2. Fill out the form.  You must use your law school email address. You do not have to click on check email.  If you do so, you may get a message that “Your email domain is not currently associated with a institutional account”.  Just ignore that and fill out the rest of the form.  Be sure to put the school name under Organization.
  3. You will receive a verification email. Click the link to complete registration.

Resources on Using an Electronic Courtroom

As C|M|LAW celebrates the opening of its new electronic trial courtroom,  here are some resources discussing how to use courtroom technology effectively:

The Science of Courtroom Litigation : Jury Research and Analytical Graphics, Samuel H. Solomon, Joanna Gallant, John P. Esser, editors, KF8972 .S35 2008 .  The later chapters of this book discuss effective visual communication, developing courtroom graphics and using courtroom technology.

Modern Visual Evidence , Gregory P. Joseph KF8967 .J67 1984-with current updates.  The law concerning every type of visual evidence and examples of how to use each type of visual evidence.

For a broader perspective, there is:

Law on Display : The Digital Transformation of Legal Persuasion and Judgment, Neal Feigenson and Christina Spiesel, KF8902.E42 F447 2009 .  An analysis of how digital visual technology is changing the conduct of trials, with detailed studies of audiovisual displays used in actual cases.

Recent articles include:

  • James O’Conor Gentry, Jr., Effective Use of Technology in the Courtroom “Boy I Wish I Could Have Seen That”, Md. B.J., November/December 2010, at 36
  • Sean Smith, Tech Tips: Demystifying the Use of Video at Trial (Part Three of Three), Prosecutor, January/February/March 2010, at 34.
  • Michelle L. Quigley, Courtroom Technology and Legal Ethics: Considerations for the ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20, Prof. Law., 2010, at 18.

The publications section of The Center For Legal and Court Technology has some useful articles, such as Protocols for the Use of Courtroom Technology.  For general litigation resources, see the library’s Litigation Research Guide.

Trial Advocacy Video Training Library

Sue Altmeyer, Electronic Services Librarian, | September 30, 2009 – 11:22

Audio Case Files and Courtroom Connect brings you the Video Training Library. It is an organized collection of video clips accompanied by short bullet presentations to highlight various trial advocacy tips and techniques. There are clips for opening and closing arguments, direct and cross examinations, examining experts and rebuttal, most of which are from actual trials. Clips tend to be short and illustrate specific concepts, such as humanizing the client in an opening statement.

Audio Case Files and Courtroom Connect is available to students and faculty who create a free account using a college of law email address. To access the Video Training Library, sign in and click on Trial Video link in the top blue bar. Then click on Video Training Library in the top blue bar. You must have Microsoft Silverlight downloaded in order to view the clips.

Audio Case Files and Courtroom Connect also has videos of actual trials from start to finish (broken up into sections such as opening, closing etc) and audio recordings of cases you may be assigned to read.

Resources for Oral Arguments

Sue Altmeyer, Electronic Services Librarian, | March 07, 2008 – 13:43

Need some help preparing an oral argument? Try: