Direct-Examination: A Trial Prep Checklist

Seven Critical Principles of Direct Examination

by Timothy M. Tippins

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Unlike cross-examination, which depends to some degree upon innate talent, any lawyer can present direct testimony effectively - if he or she is willing to do the work.  You can plan it and prepare it fully in advance of trial and, because you are typically dealing with cooperative or friendly witnesses, you can present the testimony in accordance with your pre-conceived plan.

The purpose of this discussion is to provide specific practical principles that you can apply the next time you stand up in court to present the testimony of your own witnesses.

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Interesting all day – direct, clear, funny. Thank you!

Tanya Helfand, Whippany

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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