Q. Judge Smith, what advice can you give about cross-examining witnesses?  — Tate

A. I have spent thousands of hours trying to master the art of cross-examination, and I’m still learning. Let me give you a shortened version of what I teach to law students.

The purpose of a discovery deposition is to learn what the witness knows. Do your homework and be prepared. Learn everything about the witness and the case before taking the deposition. Ask open-ended questions to discover what the witness knows. Follow up with ever-tightening narrower questions to pin him down on the specifics.