Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Demoralizing

Want to feel stupid? Want a really fast way to be shown how little law you know and how short your memory is? Go do Direct and Cross with Prof. Evidence. It's amazing how the little things--the authentication predicates, the "no pleasantries" rules--seem to disappear from your mind the second you open the door. Are you an advocate? Are you a student? You're never really sure. At least I wasn't.

I tried to get into character, question my witness with concern, as well as listen for objectionable matter, but my character kept getting broken, usually because I'd screwed something up. When the rhythm is ruined by a Prof. Evidence chide-and-demonstrate routine, you feel like you're just a student, and even once he hands the questioning back over to you, you feel like at best, you're supposed to just mimic what he did. And so you do, and you lose your place, your advocate place.

Now you're flailing while you're running. You're trying to get to the end as quickly as possible. You streamline questions to prevent hearsay--only to realize you're leading--, you try to ask and offer only that which is evidentiarily pristine. You fail, but you try to get out unscathed. And while you've been doing that, you realize, you've become a little bitch. You're not an advocate anymore, you're just a student who's been called on for a long time and trying to get home without a memo.

It's a perfect storm. He knows the case by heart, and every direct or cross script you come up with is nothing compared to the pure example that he'll show you. You know, the one he's asking of your witness while you're glowering and feeling like the bully's showing you how to makeout with your girlfriend. You've screwed up enough on the little things to be flustered so you miss the big things. Which brings us to the big things, or thing. Namely, hearsay.

It's only the biggest and most pervasive subject of bumfuzzlement in the Direct and Cross exercises, and we started on it Monday. Cool.