When he cross-examines a defense witness in any civil trial, says plaintiffs’ attorney Geoffrey N. Fieger, he shows no mercy: “I’m condescending, cynical and short with them. They’re against me and they’ve got to go down. This is war.”

It’s not in his personality to offer false civility to an opponent in trial, says Mr. Fieger, a partner at Southfield, Mich.’s Fieger, Fieger, Schwartz & Kenney P.C. He believes that acting in such a manner at trial would spell defeat: “Juries can smell when you’re phony.”

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