Turning Points at Trial
Thirteen of the greatest lawyers in the country share with you the powerful secrets from their most interesting cases, from depositions to trials to appeals. Take their techniques and apply them immediately in your practice. Unlike other textbooks, Turning Points At Trial uses actual litigation battles, not hypothetical classroom examples. Today’s most successful lawyers benefit from the wisdom described in this book and now you can, too.
- Beat an expert witness at a deposition
- Win your case in opening statement
- Make your witness tell a powerful story on direct
- Avoid the biggest mistakes lawyers make on cross
- Ensure victory in closing argument
- Powerfully argue your case on appeal
- 447 trial tips summarized in chapter checklists
Excerpt of Lanier’s closing argument in Actos trial.
Here is a sample of the videos analyzed in the book: W. Mark Lanier, the plaintiffs attorney who won a $253 million judgment against pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. over the fatal effects of its painkiller Vioxx, spoke to Professor Jon Hanson’s Torts class on November 19 at Harvard Law School.
Turning Points showcases the work of outstanding trial attorneys using a combination of description, commentary, and transcripts. Through this layered approach, the author has created a superb modeling exemplar and how-to resource for trial and appellate attorneys of all experience levels.
Turning Points at Trial is a keeper. . . . This book is like going to an advanced seminar on litigation and listening to a prominent lawyer giving a presentation on a particular subject. . . . Young lawyers will learn very good techniques on all aspects of litigation, from depositions to appellate oral argument. Even the most experienced trial lawyers will get something beneficial out of each chapter.
Each chapter is well written and organized throughout the book. . . . Read's mastery of writing in the narrative softens the edges to these academic and complex topics through storytelling, illustrative cases, and transcript excerpts. Great trial attorneys are masterful oral storytellers. Read does the same here, just on paper. The diverse collection of attorneys that Read showcases provides an interesting mosaic of courtroom strategies and skills for attorneys, young and seasoned, to learn from. This is a great reading selection for all attorneys.
The author, Shane Read, deserves much credit for expertly curating a project of this magnitude. Each of the seven main sections—Opening Statement, Direct Examination, Cross-Examination, Cross-Examination of the Expert Witness, Closing Argument, Deposition, and Appellate Oral Argument—contain two or three chapters featuring selected attorneys and (as promised in the title) critical moments in illustrative cases . . . The range of topics is similarly impressive, from medical malpractice and adoption to SUV safety and the death penalty. The cases studied involve diverse elements, such as the Zapruder film, the Roman Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandal, and the brutal attack on a San Francisco Giants fan in the Los Angeles Dodgers Stadium parking lot. Read is a master of organization and elucidation, guiding readers point by point through the testimony (with crucial phrases highlighted in boldface), along with practice tips and notable quotes from the profiled attorney set off in the margins and revisited at the end of each chapter . . . Read structures the text for maximum efficiency and impact . . . As an added bonus, Read has created a companion website to house supplemental materials: video, audio, and additional transcripts. Required reading for trial lawyers, but also exceptionally informative for anyone interested in legal proceedings.
Read reveals diverse strategies, tactics, and skills by preeminent plaintiff and defense counsel to persuade decision-makers. His focus on narrative themes and storytelling in the context of actual cases is invaluable for understanding the trial lawyer craft. By examining the architecture, logic, language, and legal structure of how the most accomplished lawyers design their lawsuits, Read has provided a unique collection of roadmaps for litigation success.
Everything is covered from evidence preparation to closing argument and even appellate strategy. The checklists will help any lawyer getting ready for a trial, and the stories are vividly conveyed in a readable, interesting style. Highly recommended.
Lawyers learn trial advocacy skills by example, and in Turning Points at Trial, Shane Read has showcased an exceptional array of examples from some truly extraordinary trial advocates. These real-world examples are as entertaining as they are instructive, making Turning Points a page-turner as well as a superb trial advocacy textbook.
I have seldom, if ever, been very impressed with any legal writing about trial skills or great trial lawyers as they are mostly dull and too elementary. Not any more — Read’s book is the best I have ever read and is an amazing work which is interesting and fun to read with so many good ideas on every aspect of effective trial presentations.
Turning Points at Trial kicks a** and takes names. It uses a unique and effective technique to teach trial skills. Shane Read has interviewed some of the best trial lawyers in America on topics from opening statement to final argument. From each legend, Read has gleaned the “secrets” to their success and then uses actual trial transcripts to hammer home these “secrets.” He wraps up each chapter with a checklist. Turning Point at Trial is one of the best trial advocacy books I have read in my 46 years of practicing law.
About The Author
Shane Read is a bestselling and multiple award-winning author. His textbook Winning at Deposition won the highest honor available for a legal publication: the Association of Continuing Legal Education’s top honor for professional excellence. He is also a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates.
He is an adjunct professor at Southern Methodist University’s School of Law, a faculty member of the National Institute of Trial Advocacy, and teaches lawyers throughout the United States.
He is a graduate of Yale University and the University of Texas School of Law. He began his career at Akin Gump in 1989 and worked at the U.S. Attorney’s office in Washington, D.C. from 1992-1998. Since 1999, he has practiced civil law in Dallas, TX where he resides with his wife and three children.