The first two Rs’ were relax and rehearse. The third R is the ability to react. I had lunch with a civil lawyer a couple of weeks ago. The conversation turned to civil trials. He commented on there are no surprises in a civil trial .Everyone knows what is going to be said and done. The major difference between civil and criminal trials is the scope of the discovery process. In a civil case , there are interrogatories , request for production of documents , and depositions. Discovery in a criminal case is limited. A criminal defense attorney can not take a deposition. A witness does not even have to talk to a defense lawyer or an investigator.

You must be able to react . The judge throws you a curve ball. A witness changes their statement . Being prepared to react on your feet takes some practice. You have to be under fire a couple of times in order to grasp this skill. There are a few ground rules that may help you;

  • Master the rules of evidence.
  • Master the rules of criminal procedure.
  • Learn key criminal law cases.
  • Be prepared for a curve ball.

Remember , a criminal trial still has some surprises . You must be able to react to any situation that arises.