In the fifth episode of his "Powerful Witness Preparation" podcast series, litigation attorney Dan Small shares the seven most common mistakes lawyers make when preparing witnesses for trial.
Along with summarizing these most common mistakes, Mr. Small also provides solutions that will help lawyers bring their witness preparation to the next level.
1. "The lawyer is too busy." - Lawyers often find it easy to ignore the preparation stage and not prioritize it and commit time toward it in the same way they would mark their calendar for a deposition.
2. "The client is too busy." - Clients sometimes fail to see how vital preparation is before taking the stand. The most important battle lawyers fight for their clients is often with their clients in the preparation stage.
3. "All witnesses are created equal." - One of the biggest challenges in witness preparation is the fact that it can't be done in a standardized cookie-cutter way. Witnesses differ enormously depending on their background. You must adapt your preparation accordingly.
4. "You'll never know what they’ll ask." - Lawyers will sometimes limit preparation intentionally and sometimes unwittingly because they don't know how to anticipate what a questioner will ask. AS a lawyer it is important to do as much research to prepare your client with the questions they may be asked.
5. "Preaching not teaching." - Lawyers cannot tell a client how to be a witness. Instead you can use a variety of methods to work together toward understanding.
6. "The law is the law." - Lawyers are far more fluent in law than a client is. In order to help a client understand the law and how it effects them, a lawyer needs to relearn how to explain the law in simpler terms. Clients who have learned the legal terms but not what they mean have learned just enough to be dangerous.
7. "Do I need to draw you a roadmap?" - Yes you do! Clients should be well versed on the mechanics of what is going to happen. A client who is prepared in knowing what to expect at trial is more likely to be successful.
Mr. Small provides even more insight into these seven mistakes and warns that you shouldn't take on the representation if you are not ready to help with the preparation.
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