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Should an ESL Witness Testify Through an Interpreter?

When presented with a witness who speaks English as a Second Language (ESL), it is difficult to predict how they will be perceived by a jury.  In a previous post, we examined the challenges of identifying juror bias against foreign witnesses, but that raises a separate, yet related issue as to whether that witness is […]

How to Make Sure Your Expert Witness Isn’t a Lemon

We once had a client come to us with an expert witness who needed some serious prep work.  He was a great guy, very approachable, and extremely knowledgeable about his industry.  As it turned out, however, he had major problems with short-term memory and would buckle under cross because he couldn’t remember basic details related to the […]

Are Jurors Biased Against Foreign Witnesses?

To say that America has a complicated relationship with “foreignness” would no doubt be an understatement.  After all, the vast majority of us have relatives or ancestors who immigrated to the United States at some point in time (I, myself, am a first-generation citizen).  Yet, there remains a great deal of political controversy and social tension between Americans and the foreign born (or […]

What Should I Do When My Witness Wants to Outsmart Opposing Counsel?

In my career, I have never seen jurors give a witness in a mock trial as low an evaluation score (1.3 out of 7) as one witness we encountered named Tim.  In fact, one of my fellow consultants on the project confessed, “I once worked on a case that involved [an accused] child molester.  The […]

Tips for Preparing the Expert Witness

Working with expert witnesses can be difficult for even the most seasoned attorneys and trial consultants. Oftentimes, egos and expertise can get in the way of an expert’s ability to deliver persuasive testimony, requiring attorneys and trial consultants to be creative when developing solutions that fit both the problem and the expert witness. As trial […]

Why Should I use a Consultant for Witness Preparation?

Many high-stakes lawsuits filed these days often hinge on the behavior of company employees.  Given growing anti-corporate attitudes among jurors, managing jurors’ perceptions of company witnesses and experts is more important than ever.  Most of the time, attorneys conduct witness preparation before a witness is scheduled for a video deposition and certainly before a witness […]

How Should Scientific Research be Presented to Judges and Juries?

With all their knowledge, training and experience, expert witnesses can sometimes have difficulty explaining scientific research findings to judges and juries, who often lack any formal training in research methodologies. For many jurors, topics such as “epidemiology,” “control groups,” “confounds,” and “confidence intervals” are completely foreign. This can be problematic when cases hinge on these […]

Should a Witness Look at the Jury? Keys to Effective Courtroom Eye Contact

Picture this:  You’re in a room with several people.  You’re having a discussion with all of them, but you only look at one person.  Is that how conversations are supposed to work?  No, because when having a conversation, we have been socialized to include everyone in the conversation.  We may not talk directly to everyone, […]

Witness Preparation Tip: When Is It Appropriate For A Witness To Show Anger?

Many years ago, I was working on witness preparation with a corporate HR Director who was being deposed. It was quickly apparent from the moment that he walked in the room that he was not happy to be there. During his own mock direct examination, when the questions were clearly “friendly fire” from his own […]

Witness Preparation: Beware of the Tricks Used to Encourage a Witness to Volunteer

Most witnesses do not understand the purpose of a deposition and believe their job is to teach the questioning attorney everything they know; indeed, many believe if they did any less, they “wouldn’t be telling the truth.” But a witness who talks too much, either in deposition or at trial, can be a liability because […]

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