National Institute for Trial Advocacy

Effective Use of Headnotes in Openings, Closings and Witness Examinations

On Demand
This live broadcast from Tuesday, June 28th has concluded. Register below to access the on demand recording.

William Webb, one of NITA’s headnotes apostles, will demonstrate the power of using headnotes during trials. His working hypothesis is that there is no "NITA ill" that cannot be cured by the effective use of headnotes. Headnotes are the one technique everybody can (and should) use to really polish their trial advocacy. Use this skill to ensure that everybody in the courtroom knows, and is focussed on, the importance of what''s coming next. Among many other things, you'll never have to say, "Did anything unusual happen next?" By using headnotes effectively, you will: 

  • avoid leading questions (including "did you" questions) on direct examination
  • avoid awkward questions
  • more perfectly communicate with your own witnesses on direct examination
  • demonstrate full command of a witness on cross examination
  • head off relevance objections before they are even made
  • demarcate important milestones in the events depicted in your openings
  • provide a roadmap for the structure of your closings

CLE Information

Our online content is not accredited for CLE and we cannot provide a Certificate of Completion. You can apply for self-study credit by contacting your state bar organization directly. To help you with your self-study application, NITA has provided faculty biography information (via the link below) as well as a PDF of the PowerPoint slides, which is attached to the presentation. You can access this PDF by clicking on the link button once the presentation has begun to play. If you require verification of your attendance, please contact


William T. Webb

Webb Legal Group
San Francisco, CA

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