Litigators and their client/witnesses are confronted with difficult situations during testimony, and it’s nice to have reliable ways out of those sticky situations.
During both courtroom testimony and in depositions, there are common traps where the examining attorney tries to make things difficult for the witness. I’ve identified 14 of these common traps and provide sound strategies for getting through them.
Consider the points below when advising and preparing your witnesses for trial and depositions. Today, we’re talking about: The “Yes or No” Question – Take Three
How to Get Through It
Another way of replying to the “yes or no” question is,
- “as I understand your question the answer is [‘yes’ or ‘no’].”
So, again, this begs the question: will the attorney follow up and allow the client to express what’s on his/her mind? Again, advantage: client/witness. As mentioned, client/witnesses will be asked “yes or no” questions during their deposition as they will at trial – the purpose being, once the examining attorney has probed the depths of their knowledge, he or she will want to lock the client/witness into some position for trial. Just as in the trial testimony scenario, client/witness can use the same, and even more, techniques to wiggle out of this sticky situation during a deposition (I say “more” because you’re not responding in front of a judge and will have more flexibility).
There are other types of “sticky situations” clients/witnesses will be confronted with during their examination by an attorney. Several are explored in the rest of this blog series.