Advocacy Books by Joe Bodiford

Joe Bodiford, owner and publisher of eLEX, has been a trial attorney for 28 years.  A former Florida state prosecutor, he has been a criminal defense attorney since 1999.  Joe has tried cases from both sides of the courtroom, and at last count, had tried over 120 jury trials in state and Federal courts.

Joe is certified by the Florida Bar in Criminal Trial Law, certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy in Criminal Trial Advocacy, and is a certified Advocate by the National Institute of Trial Advocacy.

Joe has an extensive history of advocacy teaching.  He has been an adjunct professor at the #1 ranked Stetson University College of Law for over 15 years.  In that time, he as taught countless students at the J.D. level in trial advocacy, cross examination, and criminal procedure.  He was also called on to coach and critique many of Stetson Law's championship trial teams.  Joe currently teaches the lead course in Stetson Law's LL.M. in Advocacy program, Advanced Advocacy, wherein he explores with students from all stages of legal careers courtroom psychology, persuasion, personality and advocacy, storytelling, and the philosophy of being a trial lawyer.  His students have gone on to success as criminal and civil trial lawyers, and even judges.  In addition to teaching at Stetson, Joe taught at the Florida State University College of Law, and while co-director of the trial team, his program won three national competitions.

Joe was asked to write two books for the esteemed West Academic, a division of West - one of the most trusted names in legal publishing.  His first book, Cross Examination in a Nutshell, part of the famed "In a Nutshell" series, was published in 2018.  On the success of that book, he wrote A Short & Happy Guide to Trial Advocacy in 2023 - which takes its place among West Academic's wildly popular "Short & Happy Guides" series.  In both, Joe brings a real-life approach to preparing to be the best courtroom advocate possible. 

Some of the comments Joe has received about the Short & Happy Guide to Trial Advocacy:

  • The detailed table of contents made it easy to navigate back and forth, because I did not read it in order.
  • Very helpful to see the objectives in the front end to determine what will be addressed. I am taking an Evidence course right now, so I was mostly interested in the direct and cross sections.
  • THE CHEKLISTS!!! The checklists are incredibly useful! When you have zero experience, you need somewhere to start. A checklist is so useful. There is not enough focus on the practical aspect of lawyering in school, it is very much theoretical. I had never heard of witness files, cross sheets. Seeing those made so much sense to stay organize and know exactly what to address on cross, and how it relates to the main goal of the defending attorney.
  • All visuals were useful in understanding what is going on! Those like on page 237 help re-focus the cross to items of proper relevance instead of getting sidetracked.
  • The visual of the zones of the courtroom on page 173...I had never thought or gave any weight to the location of lawyers in relation to the jury. It makes so much sense. It makes SO much sense. There almost needs no explanation in words. It is very useful.
  • "HOP the BAR" - that's another useful mnemonic - very useful when you are under the stress of performing the cross.
  • Examples of BAD lawyering. I really found the examples of how not to bring up an objection illuminating. I am sure that I would probably have thought that a gauche way of objecting would be effective... until I read Chapter 7.