You hear it all the time when lawyers are presenting their experts to a jury or preserving their testimony for trial:
- "Doctor, would you tell the jury how mesothelioma is diagnosed?"
- "Mr. Expert, I'd like you to explain to the jury how it was possible to measure the width of the device."
- "Doctor, for the jury's benefit, would you describe how blood travels through the four valves of the heart?"
The trouble with the "tell the jury" formulation is that you risk sounding arrogant. You're suggesting that although the jury needs instruction, you already know the answer.
It's a problem that's easy to fix. Simply ask the expert to "tell us" or "explain to us" or "tell us why." Or leave out the "us" altogether--that works too.
It's a useful tip that was suggested by a one of the judge-lecturers in this CLE program, which I was watching in order to satisfy my Illinois compliance.