In a NITA trial practice course many years ago, I learned that one strategizes the order of witnesses in a trial just as one strategizes the order of arguments in a brief. As a young associate in a large firm, I had never formulated trial strategy or, for that matter, any strategy outside the library. I had written briefs.
In the trial practice course, I learned that the touchstone for sequencing witnesses is the likely impact on the jury, considering their prejudices and preconceptions, their attention spans and their powers of retention. I learned that a trial attorney wrestles with questions such as, “Should I begin with a strong witness to create a good impression early, or should I save my best for last? Will the jury forget my first witness by the time I get to the last? Should I present Witness A first to validate Witness B, even though Witness B is more important?”
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