Communication is challenging. We all struggle to communicate clearly and effectively in a world full of texts, emails, and videos.
Now add lawyers, a judge, jury, and cross examination questions. It’s no wonder clients and witnesses are terrified to take the stand. Sadly, some clients would rather settle their case instead of go to trial because of their fear of taking the witness stand. There is a tremendous amount of fear and pressure around testifying.
Witness preparation is not new, this is a problem lawyers have long had to solve in this profession. But not all preparation is created equal. Telling a client or witness to just “tell the truth” is obvious, its like telling a five year-old learning to tie their shoes “use the laces.” People know its about telling the truth, and they want more then a list of rules or what not to do.
Preparation of a client or witness should incorporate both emotional and logical components. It’s more than just role play.
Generally, lawyers do tackle the logical components: what to say and running through some sample questions. Unfortunately, I have seen lawyers skip the difficult facts or strong defense claims because its uncomfortable.
Also it’s the emotional components that can become obstacles in preparation and testimony. For example, deep emotional injuries take time, trust, and patience before they emerge from a client or witness. Some times you don’t know how to tackle the emotional parts or the client won’t open up despite your efforts.
Clients and their stories are unique. Their preparation should be handled the same way.
Elizabeth customizes this process for each individual’s client based on their needs and situation. This process takes place over 2-3 days and Zoom meetings to assist the client with confidence against cross examination, content creation and telling their unique story. Elizabeth works with you (the lawyer) throughout the process, as well, and provides direct guidance on best ways to communicate. She can and will use focus groups to help understand the jury’s blink reactions and perceptions of a witness. Her consultation will cover all your concerns and ensure that all the witness preparation aligns with your plans for the case.