The Champion

April 2011 , Page 20 

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Cross-Examining the Difficult Witness: Tips for Women Defenders Navigating Gender Dynamics In the Courtroom

By Jennifer Brown

Cross-examination is often the most well-honed, trusted, and useful tool for criminal defense lawyers. As well as forwarding the theory of the case already established in voir dire and opening statements, there are times that cross-examination can serve as a game changer. The vaunted experts who teach cross-examination always instruct that the cross-examiner is as much on stage, if not more, as the witness.1

This fact has unique significance for women practitioners. Although women have made considerable strides in the legal profession and almost half of the graduates of law school are now women2, there are nonetheless gender dynamics at play. Therefore, it is important for women to understand those dynamics and use them to their advantage. What follows are some standard tips or rules for cross-examination, with further explanation for practitioners who wish to explore the gender dynamics.

For basic cross-examination techniques, it is hard to beat Irving Younge
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