In the history of criminal defense and trial lawyers, there are only a few, who become household names. F. Lee Bailey is one of those lawyers. At various times in his life, he was considered America’s go-to lawyer. He has been involved in several so-called “Trial’s of the Century”. His clients include:

  • Sam Shepherd, the wrongly convicted doctor that was the basis for the movie and tv show, The Fugitive;
  • Boston Strangler;
  • Patricia Hearst, the daughter of the one of America’s richest families who was kidnapped and then joined the SLA, Symbionese Liberation Army;
  • George Edgerly, the first polygraph defense case;
  • Ernest Medina, the court martial related to the My Lai Massacre; and,
  • OJ Simpson, to name a few.

Bailey graced the covers to Newsweek and other magazines related to his rise to prominence. He has written at least 20 books including, The Defense Never Rests, For the Defense, To Be A Trial Lawyer, When the Husband Is The Suspect, Excellence in Cross Examination and his latest book, The Truth about the OJ Simpson Trial, By the Architect of the Defense. In our one on one we discuss Bailey’s direct, rapid fire and assertive cross examination style. He discussed how he approaches he different witnesses by circling them, luring them into complacency and pouncing on them using speed, precision, pace, word choice and logic. In our conversation, you’ll hear trial stories, war stories, cross examination, strategies from the most famous lawyer in the 20th century. We discuss the state of lawyering, the state and quality of current cross examinations,  Marcia Clark, Christopher Darden, Johnnie Cochran, OJ, Robert Shapiro, Judge Ito, Mark Fuhrman and the best cross examination of a crime scene officer I’ve ever seen, Sgt Rossi, who responded to the Bundy murder scene. We talk about the glove, the jury and more. Bailey discusses defending Patricia Hearst, the heiress who made international headlines when she was charged with bank robbery and more. He discusses how he got hired, his involvement, the impossibility of the defense and his incredibly powerful cross examination of the government’s psychiatrist witness Dr Joel Fort.

Bailey tells you his secrets to his swaggering style: don’t use notes, don’t take your eyes off the witness, look for signs of a struggling witness, use pace and speed. His style has been called swaggering and tenacious.

I have read all of lawyering books and you can tell I have a great admiration for his courtroom swagger and style. During our interview, he will take you behind the scenes of one of the most storied careers in the history of trial lawyers. Even at this age, Bailey’s swagger is unmistakable. In the end, he pays this writer the highest compliment, saying that he knows a great trial lawyer when he sees one and points to yours truly.

Listen in as Bailey shares his secrets to his swaggering style: don’t use notes, don’t take your eyes off the witness, look for signs of a struggling witness, use pace and speed, and more. During our interview, he will take you behind the scenes of one of the most storied careers in the history of trial lawyers.

Please be aware we are relying on impressions, recollections, memories and interpretations.

Listen to Episode 39 Now