Saturday, May 9, 2020


Shane Read never disappoints his readers, and this is certainly true with his book Winning at Cross-Examination: A Modern Approach for Depositions and Trials. As someone who has written a book on cross-examination—Cross-Examination Handbook: Persuasion, Strategies, and Techniques, perhaps I should be jealous and critical. I’m not and won’t be. His book is splendid, proving that you can never write enough about activity that demands thorough preparation and has accurately been described as involving both science and art.

I must admit that I am a fan of Read’s books,  having reviewed his book Turning Points at Trial: Great Lawyers Share Secrets, Strategies and Skills, which is on a par with his prior award-winning books Winning at Deposition and Winning at Trial.

The book is divided into three parts as follows: (1) cross-examination skills and strategies; (2) skilled trial lawyers, Tom Girardi and Mark Lanier, reflect on crosses in their notable trials; and (3) discussions of cross-examinations in the O.J. Simpson and George Zimmerman trials. Also, in part 3 is a stage reading on Broadway of a cross-examination in the case against 8, which was the challenge to the California proposition that marriage is only between a man and a woman. You can watch that here.

Shane Read has collected other videos of effective cross-examinations that are on his website  You need only enter the password that is on the last page of the index in the book.

Read believes, as I do, that the best way to learn how to be an effective cross-examiner is to watch a skilled trial lawyer at work. Ideally this would be by second chairing a case with that lawyer. A secondary way is to read transcripts and watch videos of good trial lawyers doing cross-examinations. Sections (2) and (3) are designed to help the reader accomplish this goal. As Picasso said, “Good artists copy, great artists steal.”

One grand feature of the book is its marginalia. They include these boxes in the margin: Chapter Road Maps; Practice Tips; and Quotations (Mark Twain’s “An expert is a person hired to divorce yourself from your common sense.). Also nice are the checklists at the end of the chapters.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book to you as a book that you should add to your library along with Cross-Examination Handbook.

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