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Are Younger’s Ten Commandments of Cross Still Good Law in Today’s Courtroom?

By William Owen “Bill” James, Jr.

Throughout his career, he served as a prosecutor, criminal defense attorney, civil trial attorney, judge, and law professor, but is best remembered as a teacher of trial lawyers.1 Irving Younger spent most of his career as a rock star of the legal profession. Professor Younger’s seminars were sold out months in advance. Thirty years after his death in 1988, he remains one of the most influential educators of lawyers.2 In addition to the thousands of attorneys who were fortunate enough to attend his seminars, thousands more have watched the videotapes of these presentations, which have now been converted to modern formats.3 

Professor Younger’s most influential CLE lecture was his presentation on the Ten Commandments of Cross-Examination, his quintessential work, which outlines how an attorney should form and ask cross-examination questions designed to attack credibility.4 Almost all trial attorneys know and follow Professor Younger’s principles, even if they do not realize that they are

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