Anatomy of a Trial


By Paul M. Sandler

cover image of Anatomy of a Trial

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As any experienced litigator knows, litigation theory is often complicated, and sometimes compromised, by the realities of an actual trial. Anatomy of a Trial is designed for young trial lawyers eager to gain an appreciation of how to handle real problems encountered during jury trials.

Now completely updated and revised, this book considers the key phases of jury trials (voir dire, opening statements, direct and cross-examination, and closing arguments) in the light of two particular cases, one criminal and the other civil. The criminal case involves highly complex subjects and lawcampaign finance, national politics, and Hollywood fundraising, among othersand necessitates simplifying and storytelling for the jury. The civil case illustrates the reality that most cases hinge on the credibility of witnesses, and also showcases the critical importance of experts in trials of a technical nature. This second edition also includes an all-new third case, a non-jury civil trial.

These cases demonstrate that, although all trials have differences, employing the well-developed principles of rhetoric is fundamental to success no matter the nature of the litigation. With complete opening and closing statements, many actual transcripts from the trials, helpful explanations of the tactics used in the courtroom, and commentary from five judges on what the lawyers did right and wrong, Anatomy of a Trial is a thorough exploration of trial techniques through the lens of actual cases.

Anatomy of a Trial