By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm:
One of the most common trial preparation activities is to prepare the witnesses. Even as trials become relatively rare in some areas of litigation, the need to get witnesses ready for depositions tends to stay strong. As common as that need can be, however, the mechanics of it can be taken for granted. We have written frequently on the best content and methods to convey to future witnesses. Here are ten of the top posts on the topic.
Listen, pause, use your own words, and then stop. Sometimes witness advice should be covered in detail, and at other times you just need to bottom line it. A week or so ago, I was arriving for a meeting with attorneys just as a witness was leaving. "Is there any simple advice you would convey before his deposition?" one of the attorneys asked. What I came up with on the spot is just that list of four: listen, pause, use your own words, and then stop. At the time, I noticed that the attorneys in the room wrote that list down in their own notes. Since then, I've used that simple quartet in a few other meetings with similar effects. So, I thought I might be onto something, and this may be a list worth sharing. If there is one sentence I would want witnesses to keep in mind as they head into a deposition, it would probably be that: listen, pause, use your own words, and stop. (Read More)