Trial Advocacy

Direct Examination

Direct examination is the questioning of a witness called by the examining party.

When doing direct examination, leading questions are not permitted. You would not want to anyway.

When doing direct examination, you want to ask broad, open questions and let your witness talk so the jury can relate to and sympathize with him.

Good direct examination questions often start with one of these 8 words:

  1. Who
  2. What
  3. Where
  4. When
  5. Why
  6. How
  7. Explain
  8. Describe

You want to avoid simple yes/no questions. (Usually such include forms of "be" such as "were" and "is".)

It's important to end on a good note. Ask background and lead-up questions first, and save the actual event for the end, then end.

  • If your witness starts talking about the event too early, cut him off and say you'll get.