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Cross Country: Form Follows Function, Favors Folders

By Larry Pozner

Read more Cross Country columns.

“Form follows function.” 

— Louis Sullivan, Architect of some of the earliest skyscrapers

For years, I have organized my cross-examinations in folders. Each folder contains the chapters on that topic and highlights copies of the exhibits referenced in those chapters. A chapter is a group of leading questions that establishes logically related facts. The facts create a context in which the fact finder can understand the goal of the chapter and its relationship to the competing theories of the case. Folders always worked. So, of course, I decided to try something new.

At my latest trial, I conducted several cross-examinations from individual witness notebooks. Each witness notebook contained my chapters of cross behind a tab showing the general nature of that bundle. The purpose of a chapter is to tell one small story that provides the fact finder with the context necessary to realize how that small story helps the defense team’s theory of the case or undermines the opponent’s theory of the

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