Podcast - The Witness Interview: Dangerous Informality
In the latest episode of his "Powerful Witness Preparation" podcast series, The Witness Interview: Dangerous Informality, litigation attorney Dan Small clears up the harmful misconceptions that surround informal interviews and shares how to avoid having these interviews catch a witness off guard. He warns that interview environments with a relaxed and friendly feel are deceptive and sheds light on some serious consequences of being unaware and unprepared for an informal interview.
He explains that in an informal interview every question from the questioner has a purpose and every statement the witness makes will be written down and used. He also clarifies that even though a witness isn’t sworn in during an informal interview, it should be treated as if they are under oath. Lying in an informal interview can still be used against a witness in the future.
The danger of informal interviews is that witnesses may treat it like a conversation and think they can talk their way through it. They must not make that mistake. Taking the stand in court and answering questions in an informal interview both require a high level of preparation and precision that should be taken very seriously.