Litigation advice! Also good elsewhere ….
A piece of advice taught in law school and often ignored by trial counsel: Never ask a question of a witness when you don’t know the answer that will be forthcoming from the witness!
A story, possibly hypocraphal, illustrates the point:
Lawyers should never ask a Southern grandma a question if they aren’t prepared for the answer.
In a trial, a southern small-town prosecuting attorney called his first witness, a grand motherly, elderly woman to the stand.
He approached her and asked, “Mrs. Jones, do you know me?”
She responded, “Why, yes, I do know you, Mr. Williams. I’ve known You since you were a young boy, and frankly, you’ve been a big disappointment to me. You lie, you cheat on your wife, and you manipulate people and talk about them behind their backs. You think you’re a big shot when you haven’t the brains to realize you never will amount to anything more than a two-bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you.”
The lawyer was stunned! Not knowing what else to do, he pointed across the room and asked, “Mrs. Jones, do you know the defense attorney?” She again replied, “Why, yes, I do. I’ve known Mr. Bradley since he was a youngster, too.
He’s lazy, bigoted, and he has a drinking problem. He can’t build a normal relationship with anyone and his law practice is one of the worst in the entire state.
Not to mention he cheated on his wife with three different women. One of them was your wife. Yes, I know him.”
The defense attorney almost died.
The judge asked both counselors to approach the bench and, in a very quiet voice, said, “If either of you idiots ask her if she knows me, I’ll send you to the electric chair.”Tags: Personal Thoughts
Categorized in: Personal Thoughts