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Legal Reference Question of the Week

By Benita on April 11, 2013//Leave a comment
Attorney at the courthouse examining paperwork

Q: Can I cross-examine the plaintiff’s attorney during trial?

 

This week’s question is a tricky one! Cal Jur (California Jurisprudence) discusses whether or not an attorney can be a witness in volume 7A  Cal Jur Attorneys § 370:

 
“While an attorney participating in a trial is competent to testify as any other witness, the propriety of his or her occupying the dual capacity of attorney and witness is purely one of legal ethics. Thus, whether an attorney should testify for his or her own client has been held to be a question largely to be determined by his or her own conscience, although it is not a practice to be encouraged.”

 

“The state bar rules governing the professional conduct of attorneys, however, provide that an attorney may not act as an advocate before a jury which will hear testimony from the attorney unless:
(1) the testimony relates to an uncontested matter;
(2) the testimony relates to the nature and value of legal services rendered in the case; or
(3) the attorney has the informed, written consent of the client.”

 

Cal Jur is available at all branch locations in print and electronically on our Westlaw database.

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Comment

  1. Cliff

    Hypothetical. Suppose the attorney for a party [the plaintiff] in a contract dispute participated in drafting the contract. Assume the parol evidence rule did not prevent oral testimony regarding the intent of the parties to the contact. could the defendant call the plaintiff’s attorney as a rebuttal witness for testimony regarding the intent of the parties as expressed in the contract negotiations?

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