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Wednesday, October 14, 2020

James F. Neal on Trial Technique

You wait for the prosecutor to make a mistake and hope that your total, thorough preparation will allow you to take advantage of that mistake. And they will make mistakes...I never take the chance that will result in a bad error. I try not to stretch what I'm doing into making a mistake--not to try to put on too much cross-examination, not to put a witness on who might either be a great witness or a disaster. If someone is going to win a case against me, they're going to beat me. But I don't beat myself.

 James F. Neal in Emily Couric, The Trial Lawyers, 1988 [James Neal, the famed trial attorney, was one of my professors at Vanderbilt University Law School. In the 1970s he prosecuted Jimmy Hoffa for jury tampering. Neal also became an actor who appeared in several theatrical movies. He died in 2010.]   


  1. I did a web search to learn more about Mr. Neal, and found myself following links. What a fascinating person!

    1. He was not only a successful attorney, he was a great classroom teacher.