Cross Examination Response
Rookie PIs are usually nervous about being cross-examined by opposing counsel. If you are, you're in good company — almost everyone is nervous about this, at least a little. The more you testify, however, the less you'll dread cross-examination. When you understand that it's counsel's job to rattle you and there's nothing personal about it, you'll also understand that it's your job to stay cool.
Speak Clearly and Confidently
Practice speaking in a clear and modulated voice. Don't hesitate long in answering opposing counsel's questions. She can use this hesitation to insinuate that you're manufacturing an answer in the best interest of your client instead of answering truthfully. However, don't speak so quickly that it appears you're not thinking seriously about your answer. Speaking too quickly can also prevent your attorney from having time to object before the answer leaves your mouth. Never, never volunteer information. Answer only what you are asked. If your attorney wants to bring out further evidence, he can do so later.
Be wary of the attorney whose aim is to discredit you and who tries to cause you to react with anger, embarrassment, and/or defensiveness. Provide slow, respectful, deliberate answers to any attacks on your character or capability. Also, be careful of the overly friendly attorney who attempts to catch you off guard with a not-so-friendly question. Remember, it's not personal.
Avoid using profanity, jargon, cop-speak, or slang, unless you're directly quoting someone. The jury has a few minutes to decide what type of person you are and whether they believe you. Don't use offensive language or present an attitude that might alienate some jury members. Be respectful to both parties — speak of the defendant as Mr., Mrs., or Ms. Whoever — and don't use sarcasm or disapproval when relating the subject's actions.