You can find background about trial lawyer Geoffrey Fieger in my last post. Meanwhile, here's another tip Fieger gave at the presentation last weekend, this one about direct examination. According to Fieger, he's always careful not to overprepare his client for direct examination. Why? Because the moment that the jurors think your client's answers have been scripted, they'll tune the testimony out. Instead, the testimony should be spontaneous and authentic. Not only will the jurors pay more attention, but they'll be more likely to find your client credible. This spontaneity and authenticity can be achieved, according to Fieger, by keeping your client partially in the dark about what you're going to ask until you've actually ask it.
To me, this tip seems a little dangerous. Direct examination is known to be a particularly difficult area even for skilled trial lawyers, since they're not in control as they are when cross-examining. This control can be reestablished, in part, through preparation with the client.
If you're aiming for spontaneity, what I'd recommend is to spend time preparing at least the most important parts of direct, but keep from rehearsing questions in the order you'll ask them at trial. At trial, you can vary both the order of the questions and the questions themselves. Hopefully this will make the direct seem conversational without allowing your client to inadvertently volunteer something that will undermine the case.