Jan 21, 2021
Don’t Make Your First Witness Your First Mistake
[Published in the January 2021 issue of The Advocate, the Journal of Consumer Attorneys Associations for Southern California]
There’s a school of thought that teaches plaintiffs’ lawyers to call a defense witness as the first witness at trial because it makes the jury focus immediately on the bad acts of the defendant rather than anything the plaintiff did. Some folks take it further and call several defense witnesses first.
As a judge who has seen this done scores of times, I can tell you it often doesn’t work. I can tell you this with confidence because I have been the trier of fact on many of these occasions. Here’s the deal.