X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Photo: Andrii Yalanskyi via Shutterstock Photo: Andrii Yalanskyi via Shutterstock

In a conference room nearly two years ago, I sat as a consultant to a California trial team buried behind juror notebooks, laptops, and abandoned coffee cups. Lead counsel tipped down his readers and said, “He’s a tough witness … I just hope the jury believes him.” My fingers drummed on the rim of an orange mug. “Since when,” I asked after a few seconds, “is hope a strategy?” Admittedly, it was blunt, but with thousands of dollars in costs and many hundreds of hours of attorney time, the lawyer’s wishful expectation was less than reassuring.

With so much riding on witness credibility, the lack of emphasis on witness preparation is often staggering. Despite the enormity of weight live testimony presents, many lawyers default to basic instruction on rules and non-specific generalizations like, “just be yourself” or “just tell the truth.” Somewhat more in-depth consultations can include fundamentals of rapport building with improved eye-contact, vocal projection, and practiced direct and cross-examination sessions. While undoubtedly helpful, Sun Tzu reminds us that, “Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Benefits of a Digital Membership:

  • Free access to 1 article* every 30 days
  • Access to the entire ALM network of websites
  • Unlimited access to the ALM suite of newsletters
  • Build custom alerts on any search topic of your choosing
  • Search by a wide range of topics

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?

Dig Deeper

 
Reprints & Licensing
Mentioned in a Law.com story?

License our industry-leading legal content to extend your thought leadership and build your brand.

New York Business LitigationBook

Whether you are drafting pleadings, drafting legal memoranda for motions or marshaling evidence for trial, you will want to reference the collective expertise of these ...

Get More Information
 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.