Preparing a Client for Direct Examination

Although some criminal defense attorneys believe that a client should not testify under any circumstances, juries really do want to hear defendants say they are not guilty. Starting at the first client interview, the attorney gathers information from the client but also establishes a bond that will be obvious in the courtroom. Too often, the direct examination of a client is ineffective because the questioning style is wooden and the background information is presented in a way that is self-serving. The presentation of a client’s story should be dynamic.Ā  Each answer should provide the impetus to the next question rather than a preordained outline that is not fluid. An effective presentation by a prepared client has the potential to leave jury members transformed and spellbound.