Terence MacCarthy often explains that his system of cross-examination that he teaches in MacCarthy on Cross-Examination was once described by the ABA as “contrarian.” Now it is the preferred cross-examination technique of the National Criminal Defense College and the U.S. Department of Justice. But the system is far from mainstream. MacCarthy’s system is not what you learned in law school. But using the “look good” cross, as it is sometimes called, could be the difference between winning and losing at trial.

What I Liked About MacCarthy on Cross-Examination

MacCarthy spends some time explaining why the current methods of cross-examination taught in law school and trial advocacy CLEs are ineffective. But then he quickly lays out his system of cross-examination. Like his system, the book is full of short sections and easily digestible chapters.

The best part about this book, besides the actual system, is how enjoyable it was to read. MacCarthy’s tone is light and upbeat, which makes the entire book a real page turner. There were even several parts where I laughed out loud, which meant I had to explain to my girlfriend why I was laughing out loud while reading a book about cross-examination.

What I Didn’t Like about MacCarthy on Cross-Examination

There was very little I didn’t like about this book. My main complaint, as is often the case with books the ABA publishes, was price. The list price is $130, although it’s available on Amazon around $80. I got it at an ABA conference directly from the author, who is allowed to sell it for about $75. But then the ABA charged $10 in shipping.

My other complaint is that this book is not available in digital format. I guess I’m just a little spoiled since most of the books I read for fun are fiction. Pretty much all of those are available on my Kindle. Unfortunately the ABA hasn’t caught up.


MacCarthy on Cross-Examination

Reviewed by Josh Camson on .

Summary: MacCarthy on Cross-Examination presents a structured, reproducible, and scalable system for cross-examination. The book is easy to follow and offers plenty of examples.

Overall score: 5 (out of 5)