It is vital to know how to cross-examine a witness in arbitration. An experienced practitioner discusses the risks of cross-examination and techniques you can use in your international arbitration practice.
When it comes to cross-examination, Law and Order’s Jack McCoy is the wrong role model. I marvel how McCoy’s defendants cooperate in his long, windy speeches that pass as questions. I marvel again at lawyers in international arbitration hearings who imitate his style. They learn an unpleasant lesson:
long, windy questions invite long, windy answers that can damage the examiner’s case.
Every question to a hostile witness can bring rewards; an admission from an opponent can be more convincing than the combined testimony of several friendly witnesses. But every question carries risks; the examiner can unintentionally advance the opponent’s case. Commenting on one futile cross-examination, the U.S. Supreme Court once observed: