A Master Word-Hawk
On May 13, 1997, Jeremy Paxman, for 25 years the inquisitor-in-chief at BBC2’s Newsnight, grilled Michael Howard, Britain’s then Home Secretary, about his dubious role in a political matter of considerable controversy. In that Q&A, Paxman asked Howard a yes/no Q. about the key issue. Howard, quite determined to neither admit a self-damning truth nor tell a vulnerable-to-attack lie, dodged the Q. (Sound familiar?) Word-hawk Paxman heard the dodge and re-asked the Q. Howard dodged it again. Word-hawk Paxman asked the Q. a 3rd time; Howard dodged again. Nine more times – in a row! – word-hawk Paxman asked dodgy Howard the same Q. He dodged each, but couldn’t dodge the demolition of his credibility. Winner: Word-hawk Paxman.
*a brief and serendipitous crossing-of-paths in Notting Hill
“Did you threaten to overrule him (Derrick Lewis)?”
Musante is the country’s foremost teacher of deposition cross-examination. (See Reviews.) He has taught the logic essential to taking great adverse depositions – of fact witnesses and experts – to more than 50,000 litigators in 44 states. He has made in-house presentations to the attorneys-general of 11 states and to the partners and associates of 100+ litigation law firms. (See Law Firms Taught.)
- Author (2016) and national presenter of CLE program: Depositions Done Right! “Best Lawyer in America” vs. Donald Trump
- Author (2012) and national presenter of CLE program: Attacking the Liar’s Best Lies: “I don’t know,” “I don’t remember,” & “I do remember”
- Author (2011) and national presenter of CLE program: Deposing the Artful Dodger: Six Cross-Examiners vs. Bill Clinton
- Author (2011) and national presenter of CLE program: Attacking the Expert’s Pedestal
- Author (2010) and national presenter of CLE program: The 25 Credibility Arguments
- Author (2009) and national presenter of CLE program: Combating Obstructionism at Deposition
- Author (2009) and national presenter of CLE program: The Anatomy of a “Superstar” Deposition: David Boies v. Bill Gates in US v. Microsoft
- Author (2003) and presenter of CLE program: The Stupidest Orthodoxy, R.I.P.
- Author (2001) and presenter of CLE program: Preparing For – And Defending Against – The KILLER! Adverse Deposition
- Author (1999) and national presenter of CLE program: Attacking a “Mt. Olympus” Expert’s Opinion at Deposition & Trial
- 13 minutes of fame (so 2 still left): Trial commentator re State of California vs. Simpson on national television (CNBC) and on radio (KCBS-FM, San Francisco). Confidently – and dumbly!! – predicted that the jury would never unanimously vote “not guilty” unless Simpson testified … and his story survived cross-examination.
- Author (1993) and national presenter of CLE program: Great! Adverse Depositions: Principles & Principal Techniques
- Lecturer re civil trial advocacy, University of California at Berkeley, Boalt Hall Law School, 1984 – 1999
- Continuing Education of the Bar (C.E.B.) panel member for Direct and Cross-Examinations (multiple occasions)
- Continuing Education of the Bar (C.E.B.) panel member for Preparing For, Defending & Taking Depositions (multiple occasions)
- Teacher and featured speaker re advocacy skills at the Hastings College of Trial Advocacy, San Francisco (multiple occasions)
- Teacher and featured speaker re advocacy skills at National Institute of Trial Advocacy, San Francisco (multiple occasions)
- Author of Musante’s Maxims:The Discipline of Deposition Cross-Examination … to be published one of these days
Legal Experience & Education
1983 – 2001
- Law Office of Robert Musante, Walnut Creek, CA. Civil trial practice with emphasis on personal injury and employment litigation (plaintiff and defense, mostly plaintiff … still more jury trials).
- Last jury trial: 1996 (won!).
- Last adverse deposition: December 2001 (“won!”).
- Settled last case in 2001; closed “small-potatoes” sole practice. (Said goodbye to interrogatories, requests for documents, motions to compel, less-than-honest experts and the rest.)
1981 – 1982
Maloney, Chase, Fisher & Hurst, San Francisco, insurance defense re construction and products liability cases
1980 – 1981
Deputy District Attorney, Alameda County, CA (Lots of jury trials)
1979 – 1980
Deputy District Attorney, Sacramento County, CA (Lots of jury trials)
Juris Doctor, University of California at Berkeley, Boalt Hall Law School
1977 – 1978
Investigator, San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, Special Prosecutions Unit, official corruption investigations
1972 – 1976
Police officer, San Francisco Police Department: patrol car duty; undercover narcotics investigations; and a front row seat to the greatest show on earth.
Appeared in Francis Ford Coppola’s mystery thriller, “The Conversation.” In a pivotal scene with Gene Hackman (2-time Oscar winner), bravely directed danger-filled, Christmas traffic at San Francisco’s Union Square (1972). Was nominated for the Academy Award … the movie, that is, for “Best Picture.” [Alas, Coppola’s “The Godfather: Part II” won.]
Bachelor of Arts, English Literature, University of California at Davis
1967 – 1971
United States Air Force Security Service, Mandarin linguist
1962 – 1967
The Jesuits: Bellarmine College Preparatory, San Jose, CA and the University of San Francisco
“Most Reverent Altar Boy” (really), Our Lady of Mt. Carmel grammar school, Redwood City, CA