Cross-Examination: A Trial Prep Checklist

by: Timothy M. Tippins

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There is a great deal that goes into effective cross-examination.  In a complex cross, the decisions the advocate must make – both in pre-trial prep and in the courtroom – are close to endless.  Many of these decisions, particularly those made on your feet in the heat of battle, come from the instincts you develop and hone over years of courtroom experience.  For the seasoned trial lawyer most if not all of the principles, strategies, and tactics enumerated below are second nature.  He or she knows when and how to use them as the shifting circumstances of the courtroom dictate.  The problem for the family law practitioner in particular, however, is that settlements predominate in the field.  Courtroom experience is indeed a precious commodity.  For the practitioner who tries just one or two cases each year, maybe not even that, it is essential to review the fundamentals before each trial.  It is exactly for that practitioner that this monograph is designed.  It should serve as a terse reminder – which you can readily review in less than an hour – of the proven principles, strategies, and tactics that are most likely to lead to a successful cross-examination.

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About The Authors

timTimothy Tippins Esq.

Timothy M. Tippins, Esq. is an adjunct professor at Albany Law School and serves on the faculty of the American Academy of Forensic Psychology and on the Affiliate Postdoctoral Forensic Faculty at St. John’s University. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor of Forensic Psychology at Siena College. He is a private practitioner who has engaged in matrimonial and family law practice since 1975 and devotes his practice exclusively to serving as trial counsel and consultant to other family law practitioners on a nationwide basis, with special emphasis on the presentation and cross-examination of expert mental health testimony. Tippins has served in all major professional leadership positions in the New York family law community, including President of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers - New York Chapter, Chair of the NYSBA Family Law Section, and Chair of the NYSBA Task Force on Family Law. Tippins is a regular feature columnist for the New York Law Journal and is the author of the multi-volume treatise New York Matrimonial Law & Practice (West Publishing).

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