7 Common Mistakes In Company Witness Prep

By Matthew Keenan (June 6, 2018, 3:09 PM EDT) -- Paul Newman's portrayal of plaintiff's lawyer Frank Galvin in the film "The Verdict" earned him an Oscar nomination and wide critical acclaim. But it is the role of the defense lawyer — Ed Concannon, played by British actor James Mason — who earns mention here. Concannon provides us with an example of the most common mistake made in witness preparation. What was his error? Preparing his client, Dr. Towler, in a room crowded with other attorneys and paralegals. Concannon had too many cooks in the kitchen. Large groups in a deposition prep signals to the witness the importance of witness testimony to the client's cause, thereby raising uneasiness in the one person needing reassurance. Likewise, it diminishes the prospect of a frank and confidential exchange of information and counsel. Often in mass tort, the witness' first instinct is to point fingers. This can be a healthy exercise at the outset and clears the air for more useful discussions. Nothing dampens the confidence of the witness more than inviting half the law firm to eyeball key witness No. 1. ...

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