Successful Direct Examination

06/01/2000

Introduction
I learned direct examination from Herbert J. Stern, a former United States District Judge for the District of New Jersey and a former United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey.  To the best of my knowledge, Judge Stern is the finest teacher of trial advocacy in the United States.  I have used Judge Stern's ideas in my trials since 1986.  Most of the ideas in this outline are his, not mine.
 
One volume (Volume II) in Judge Stern's series, Trying Cases to Win, is devoted to direct examination.  I highly recommend it to you.
 
Definition of Direct Examination
A trial is an argument or series of arguments.  Your job as a trial lawyer is to argue your case at every stage of the trial.  Direct examination is, therefore, arguing your case through your witnesses.
 
The Purpose of Direct
The purpose of direct examination is to argue your case.  The purpose is not to put facts into evidence from which you will argue your case during closing arguments and the purpose is certainly not to make a record for appeal.

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