Thursday, September 24, 2009

bad cop cross

Did my first cross-examination in Trial Ad today. I was like Kevin Arnold in an early episode of the Wonder Years. I imagined my line of questioning would be like a well-played game of chess. The smug 3L playing the witness would fall right into my trap. By his own admissions he would be backed into a corner, until all he could do is hang his head in silent admission of his own incompetency. The critiquing professor/trial team coach would have nothing to critique. "Wow," she would say. "Now *that* is how you do a cross-examination."

Instead, it went down more like this:

Me: "So Watkins was wearing a raincoat?"
Witness: "Yes."
Me: "On a clear night?"
Witness: "Yes."
Me: "A raincoat with big pockets?"
Witness: "Yes."
Me: Repeat line of questioning about a thousand times, interspersed with some rambling questions using cumbersome language.

The critique afterward involved some lecture about how I needed to organize my examination so I don't get sidetracked, and then, an odd question closed out my public rebuke.

"How do I ask this..." mused the professor. "JE, do you... or does anyone in your family have experience in law enforcement?"

"Um, no! Why?"

"You sound like a cop." She went on to say I used too many law enforcement words, but I immediately felt self-conscious for my somewhat aggressive, loud tone while conducting my cross. What had moments before felt like bold, groundbreaking tactical genius quickly dissolved into tyrannical, foot stomping, bad-cop acting.

And thus begins my year-long journey into the world of trial practice. I'm working on thickening my skin.

1 comment:

B said...

I hate when you think you are saying something great only to be critiqued about it later.

I am really looking forward to trial practice, but I know I am going to make a fool out of myself. And I most definitely will have to thicken my skin.