Podcast - The Remote Witness: Preparing for a Trial or Hearing
In the fourth episode of his "Remote Witness Preparation" podcast series, The Remote Witness: Preparing for a Trial or Hearing, litigation attorney Dan Small shares specific guidance and tips for preparing your witness to appear in a trial or hearing in a remote environment. Most witnesses have developed their ideas of trials from movies and television, so they must be prepared for how different it will feel remotely. The camera and the physical separation are important factors that you must prepare a witness for before a remote trial.
When a remote witness speaks into their computer or cellphone, it often feels as if the camera is invisible because it is easy to forget that it is there. However, that tiny camera is the most important part of the process and witnesses must prepare to focus on every single thing they do and say.
The physical separation can create a very odd and deceptive environment for a witness. There is no immediate presence of their counsel, opposing counsel or a fact finder to hold their attention. This could lead a witness to become much more casual and relaxed than is appropriate in a trial or hearing.
Counsel must prepare their witness on how to dress for a remote trial. Both counsel and witness should dress as if they are in a live courtroom. Counsel must also prepare themselves and their witness on how to control the audience. If someone is not a part of the trial, they should not be in the same room as the camera.
You can help get the most out of a witness and alleviate any concerns they may have about the process by preparing them to slow down, be less distracted and be ready for the different environment of appearing remotely at a trial.