Most witness testimony is straight-forward and most preparation is routine. Yet witness disaster stories abound. The majority of lawyers, after ten years of practice, have two or three of their own disaster stories and many more near-misses. How can you avoid it happening to your witness? It starts by identifying high-risk conditions. Here are some red flag witnesses.
- A witness who has never testified before
- A witness who is emotionally involved
- A deposition that will be on video
- A witness who will be called adversely by the opposing party
- A trial witness who gave damaging deposition testimony
- A 30b6 corporate witness
- The credibility of the witness will influence the verdict
- A technical witness (geeks and nerds)
- A client or another important witness who won’t give you enough preparation time
- A foreign witness – language and cultural barriers
These are some of your potential nightmare witnesses. Surely, there are more such situations. Have you seen any others?
Practice Tip: Double down on your preparation time for these witnesses, increase the number of meetings and don’t wait until a few days before the testimony.