Your doctor was careless.
His carelessness caused you injury.
Your friend referred you to this attorney.
His website said he was aggressive.
His website said he got great results.
When you met him he was confident.
He sounded experienced.
Your lawyer hired a great medical expert.
He confirmed you had a valid case.
He also confirmed that his carelessness was a cause of your injury.
Your lawsuit progressed with the usual hiccups.
With the usual delays.
With the tortured pretrial questioning from the defense lawyer during your deposition.
The defense refused to negotiate.
Your doctor claimed he did nothing wrong.
He claimed that he treated you appropriately.
He also said that nothing he did caused or contributed to your injuries.
That meant that your case would go to trial.
Your trial finally arrives.
You are excited.
You are apprehensive.
You are optimistic.
You know, in your heart of heart, that you will prevail.
Justice will prevail.
The jury will know.
They will see what your doctor did.
They will find your doctor responsible for your injuries.
You just know it.
You've been in court every day.
Like an observer.
Except you're not.
You're a litigant.
You're the one who brought this lawsuit.
Against your doctor.
That's the person who brings a civil lawsuit.
The doctor you sued is known as the defendant.
It's time for your attorney to cross examine the defense's medical expert.
The doctor whom the defense has chosen to argue that your doctor did nothing wrong.
It's not what he says.
Instead, it's HOW he says it.
To the opposing medical expert!
HOW COULD THIS BE?
You thought that all cross examination was angry examination.
You thought that every cross examination was viscious.
You thought he'd be hard-hitting.
You thought he'd be yelling and screaming.
Instead, he's asking questions nicely.
He's being so proper and polite.
You know better!
You've seen courtroom dramas on TV.
You know how they cross examine on TV.
You've seen plenty of cross examination scenes in the movies.
Your expectations were not what you envisioned.
You thought your attorney would be yelling.
You thought he'd have this righteous indignation.
You thought he'd be pounding away at the defense's medical expert.
Instead, he's just mush.
So, you confront your lawyer at the next break.
But you do so in an accusatory tone.
"I thought you were aggressive! I thought you were a hard-hitter! What I saw inside there during your cross examination shows you're an anachronism. Nobody treats a hostile witness as sweetly as you just did! How could you do that to me?" you inquire aggressively.
Your lawyer laughs.
He understands your frustration.
He understands your perception.
He recognizes the disconnect here.
He begins to explain.
"Also, cross examination does NOT mean angry examination."
"I can accomplish so much more by being nice than if I were a nasty, obnoxious bastard during cross exam," your lawyer says.
But you protest.
"Some lawyers get away with that. That's their personality. Not mine," he responds.
"I have an agenda during cross examination. I need to get the opposing witness to agree or disagree with my statements. I need him to bolster parts of our case. I need him to admit what the standards of medical care were. If I'm hostile and angry, the medical expert is much less likely going to agree with some of my questions and statements," your lawyer says.
Your lawyer laughs again.
"What you see in those dramas is not really what happens in court. Slightly different. Those dramas are packaged tight and neat and done in 22 or 44 minutes. The cross examination is the pinnacle of the show. In our civil cases involving improper medical care resulting in injury, cross examination is a key component of showing a witness is not credible.
You see, a jury must evaluate credibility. Credibility of every witness who testifies. Credibility of every piece of evidence that's admitted for the jury to consider. If we can whittle away at a witness' credibility, the scales begin to tip in our favor.
In addition, an attorney who is so aggressive, as you describe, often runs the risk of alienating the jury. Then the jury feels sympathy for the witness who is being bullied and beat up. Then they look at me as the aggressor and may take it out on you and your case," your attorney explains.
You thought he was catatonic.
You thought he didn't know what he was doing.
Your perception of what lawyers SHOULD do and what your lawyer did were different.
That's what led you to believe he was asleep at the wheel.
A natural reaction.
But now you know.
You know the real inside secret.