Witness Preparation

Preparing witnesses is the specialization of Courtroom Communications. Both lay and expert witnesses are trained, with amazing success, to be more effective. Using a positive and supportive approach, and working in conjunction with attorneys, witnesses are prepared, for deposition, hearing, and trial. Explicit techniques for answering questions are taught. Witnesses are trained how to listen, how to recognize what they know from what they honestly don't know, and how to focus their answers on case themes. Specific attention is given to issues of demeanor and attitude. Practice with trial counsel is conducted, followed by critical review and reinforcement of new skills. Video feedback is sometimes used.

Courtroom Communications has particular expertise in preparing "problem witnesses" - those individuals who in spite of directions given, can't (or won't) do as they have been instructed by their attorneys.

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Witness Class for Expert Witnesses

Witness class is a time-saving option in cases where a number of experts will be testifying at trial. Prior to individual training and practice sessions, groups of witnesses involved in the same case are prepared classroom-style on the techniques needed to effectively present their opinions, and to handle the challenges to their opinions in cross examination. The group class includes the basics of how to answer questions clearly, training on appropriate witness conduct, a grounding in the conventions of the process (deposition, hearing, trial), an understanding of not only the role of a witness, but also an understanding of lawyer rules for asking questions in direct and cross examination. In witness class experts are taught how to deal with questions on their credentials, questions on how much they are being paid, time records of their work, how to respond to questions about the opinions of other experts with different views, and many other questions typically asked of an expert witness. At no time is there any discussion of core testimony of any of the witnesses. Following class, individual sessions are scheduled where the witness can practice responding to questions using case materials. Witness class is an approach that saves both time and money.

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Working With Trial Graphics and Demonstrative Evidence

It is not enough to create effective trial graphics for the courtroom. If powerful presentation tools are not used well, the dollars spent on them can be a waste. Whether case illustrations are done on a flip chart or are professionally created exhibit boards, video or computer animation, or other form of electronic presentation, knowing how to effectively use these aids can be invaluable to the attorney and witness alike.

Effective use of courtroom visual aids can be a part of witness preparation or can be scheduled as a separate training session.

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Advanced Communication Skills for Lawyers

Opening statements and/or closing arguments

Guidance is given privately to attorneys regarding content and methods of effective presentation. Case themes are evaluated in terms of creativity and persuasiveness. Once content has been determined, time is spent developing the most effective style of delivery. This is followed by practice and review. Attention is also given to demeanor and other non-verbal messages.

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Media Relations - dealing with the press

This training is geared to teaching lawyers and/or witnesses how to avoid being taken advantage of by members of the media. Issues considered are what to say and what not to say, behavior, attitude, and strategy. Whether facing the print press, or electronic media, surprise or scheduled, a knowledge of the best methods of presenting oneself and one's message in a positive light can sometimes be important to the outcome of a case.

These training sessions can be scheduled as one-on-one or group sessions.

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"Advanced Techniques for Preparing Witnesses"

Given for groups of lawyers in-house or at professional conferences and bar association meetings.

This lecture has been presented to litigation departments of major law firms including: Morgan, Lewis & Bockius; Kenyon & Kenyon; Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue; Darby & Darby; McCarter & English; Pitney, Hardin, Kipp & Szuch; Lester Schwab Katz & Dwyer; Kalow & Springut. Many firms have used this lecture to grant CLE credit.

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"How To Be a More Effective Expert Witness"

Given in-house or at meetings of organizations that provide expert witness testimony, such as accountants, medical professionals, and scientists.

This lecture has been presented at national conferences to groups such as: American Society of Appraisers Advanced Business Valuation Conference, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Business Valuations Conference, and the Certified Public Accountants Association Business Valuations Seminar.

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