Saturday, February 23, 2013

Week 12

Practically spent the whole week helping another lawyer with her upcoming trial. Which is a nice change from Power-Lawyer, who prepares for days and nights at a rhythm I can't quite keep up with. Although I guess we can still end up preparing the night before this trial.

Anyway. I'm about to reach the halfway mark of my internship, and a trial is a nice way to mark the event.

I was given the task of coming up with cross-examination questions, and as usual, the instructions are pretty much "Give me 20 questions, everything is in the file." Except that said instructions were given by Nice Lawyer, who is not quite so blunt, which means it took me a minute or two to understand that she was basically asking me to read the file and make questions.

Coming up with cross-ex questions is much harder than I thought. The main problem is that in Family law, a lot of situations is your word against theirs. People seldom communicate in writing, so there's nothing to show that the person you're examining is lying.

In my mind, the best questions are the ones where the person looks bad no matter what answer is given.

When does the baby go to bed?
You don't know? You're the father/mother, how could you not know? Don't you put her to bed?
She sleeps early? Then what were you doing on that day at that activity, so late in the evening with the baby?
She sleeps late? Do you always put a 2-year-old to bed so late?

* * * 
We had the client in yesterday to prep her for trial. Prepping for trial is very similar to prepping for high school oral presentations. Everyone has their script, and you say it out loud pretending you're in front of the judge. 

The hardest part was to make the client understand that in a chief examination, lawyers aren't allowed to ask leading questions. You have to make them understand that when you ask "Describe your relationship with your ex" you actually mean "tell us why that person shouldn't have custody". 

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