How do you end your direct?

 Posted By: je froilan m. clerigo
03-Jan-2008

The direct examination is when we tell our story, fit those pieces to build our case, and persuade the judge to our side. Our job therefore, is to make the direct examination as impactful and memorable as possible, so that the judge remembers it come decision time.

And one way to make our case memorable is to end the direct examination properly; that is strongly.

In civil cases for damages for instance, we end the direct examination of the client by asking him to summarize the damage he suffered at the hands of the defendant. We ask him how the injury has affected the way he lives his life after the incident happened. This usually becomes dramatic because it gives the client the chance to repeat, in brief but emotional words, what he testified to on direct. This also makes his testimony memorable, not only because of the drama, but also because of the repitition it affords. Just phrase it in a way that you avoid the objection "asked and answered."

In criminal cases, when the client is the accused and he's on the stand, we usually end the examination by asking short questions that call for equally short but emphatic denial of the charges, or those of the testimonies of the key witnesses for the prosecution. Or, in some instances, an emphasis on the key elements of the defense. In a case for violation of trust receipts law, for example, where the willingness of the accused to return the goods after they were not sold is a defense, we asked the following questions towards the end of the accused's testimony: Did you offer to return the goods that were listed in the trust receipts? Yes. How did the bank react to your offer? It refused to accept it. Did the bank advise you why they are refusing the return of the goods? No. Where are the goods at present? They are still in our warehouse. What is their condition at present? They are still in their original crates since they arrived in the country. Can you still return them today? Yes.

Every story must have an ending; countless movies that are otherwise excellent were ruined by their mediocre endings that ruined them. Let's not make our case suffer the same fate.