Wednesday, January 09, 2008


My winter class this term is called TAW, which stands for Trial Advocacy Workshop. It's a great, hands-on class in which every day you prepare a different part of a trial and present it in front of a small group of classmates (and occasionally a large group of classmates and a camera) and get critiqued on your style, voice, mannerisms, etc. It's probably the most useful class in law school, in my humble (and correct) opinion.

Today is the third day, and we are focusing on cross-examinations. The first day was opening statements and the second direct examinations. The best part of the day is watching the people selected to perform in front of the large class and camera. They are chosen at random (even the supposed witnesses), and while some people thrive under pressure and nerves, others fluster, and fluster quite comically.

Yesterday, the alleged victim of a car crash was talking about the severe pain he felt in his back.
Attorney: Describe for the jury the pain you felt.
Witness: Well, not to use that old cliche, but it felt like elephants walking on and inside my spine.
Ah yes, the old "elephants on my spine" cliche. So tired.

Another one, which I find quite funny, may only be humorous to those in the legal field. The defense attorney had just finished examining the defendant, who is accused of murder. The prosecutor stood to do her cross.
Prosecutor: You were hanging out with your Marine buddies that day, weren't you?
Witness: Yes
Prosecutor: So after you had a couple of drinks with them you decided to check out the alleged robbery without calling on-duty police, isn't that right?
Defense Attorney: Objection! Assumes drinks not in evidence!

I would try to explain that one, but then it just wouldn't be as funny.

Yesterday I was called up to do part of my examination for the large class and the camera. They said I did well, but I'll let you know once I see me on tape. I used to have a body tic of slightly swaying side to side during presentations. I hope I've kicked that one, but we'll see.


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