So, You Are Going To Call Your Client? |

So, You Are Going To Call Your Client?

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Professionalism (Ethics, etc.): 1.5
100 minutes
Maureen D. Forestell
David M. Humphrey
Robin McKechney
David M. Porter
Toronto Lawyers Association (TLA)
100 minutes
$119.00 plus tax
Includes Handouts

One of the most overlooked but critical components of any trial, criminal or civil, is the decision to call your client. Inevitably, it is also one of the most terrifying. Your client’s testimony may be essential to answering the opposing party’s case, but it could also undo all of the good work you have done in cross examination in one fell swoop. Importantly, it will also be the last impression the trier of fact has before deciding the case.

The crucial question for litigators facing this high stakes decision is what situations necessitate the client taking the stand and where could it actually detract from an otherwise sound case? And, if the decision is made to call the client, how should the client be prepared for both examination in chief and cross examination in order to most effectively meet the burden of proof as well as counsel’s ethical obligations? A panel that includes a Superior Court Judge as well as leading counsel from the criminal and civil bar will examine these difficult questions in an innovative session that will include video clips of witness testimony and preparation.

Specific topics include:

  • When is it critical to call your client?
  • When can calling your client hurt your case?
  • If you call your client, what steps should be taken to prepare them for examination in chief and cross-examination?
  • What do clients do on the stand that undermines their credibility and reliability?
  • What is the line between effective client preparation and inappropriate “woodshedding”?


The Honourable Justice Maureen D. Forestell

The Honourable Justice Forestell was appointed to the Ontario Superior Court in Toronto in 2007. Prior to her appointment she was a lawyer with Cavalluzzo LLP. Madam Justice Forestell’s practice expertise as a lawyer was in the areas of criminal law, professional regulation (prosecutions and defence), administrative law, and constitutional law. As a judge, Justice Forestell hears primarily criminal matters as well as presiding over summary conviction appeals.

David M. Humphrey

David Humphrey is a partner in the firm Greenspan Humphrey Weinstein, with an advocacy practice focused on criminal trials and appeals, regulatory offences and professional discipline matters. After his call to the Ontario Bar in 1985, Mr. Humphrey joined the Crown Law Office - Criminal as counsel. He entered private practice in 1987. He has been named in The Best Lawyers in Canada in the practice area of criminal defence since 2007. In 2007 he was inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

Mr. Humphrey has represented clients in all levels of court, and at inquests and public inquiries. He was counsel to the Honourable Patrick T. Galligan, Q.C. on his Inquiry into the Karla Homolka plea resolution. He has been an instructor for the Bar Admission Course and the Ontario Centre for Advocacy Training, and has spoken at programs conducted by The Law Society of Ontario, The Federation of Law Societies, The Canadian Bar Association, The Criminal Lawyers’ Association, the National Judicial Institute, The Advocates’ Society and the Ontario Crown Attorney’s Association.

Robin McKechney

Robin has acted as counsel on several of Canada’s pre-eminent white-collar criminal trials including Nortel, Royal Group and Armour Pharmaceuticals. Robin has also been engaged in both prosecuting and defending professionals before disciplinary tribunals and has frequently appeared as trial and appellate counsel for self-regulating professional colleges in Ontario.

Robin is an adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall Law School, where he has taught the Law of Evidence in both the J.D. and Common Law LL.M. programs since 2014.  Robin has spoken on numerous continuing legal education panels and conferences on topics including financial crimes, internal investigations, criminal procedure and professional regulation. Robin is a co-author of “Prosecuting and Defending Professional Regulatory Cases” which will be published by Emond Publishing in November 2019.

Robin obtained his B.A. (Hons) from the University of Saskatchewan and attended law school at Dalhousie University where he was awarded the Nova Scotia Law Foundation Scholarship. Robin graduated from Dalhousie Law School in 2000 and was called to the bar in Ontario in 2002.

Justice David M. Porter

Justice David McCrae Porter was called to the bar in 1983. He has been a partner at the law firm McCarthy Tetrault LLP since 1990 and has specialized in criminal defence and professional discipline prosecution and defence. Justice Porter was the Law Society representative on the Ontario Judicial Council for several years and was also the Canadian Bar Association's representative on the Steering Committee on Justice Efficiencies and Access to the Criminal Justice System. Justice Porter has taught at Osgoode Hall Law School and University of Toronto Law School.

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