Litigators and their clients/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.
I Don’t Understand
As a client/witness, you’ll be subjected to some pretty tough, sometimes technical questions. Often the questioning attorney will offer a lot of hypothetical facts and complexity within a question. If confronted by such a question, when in doubt, respond:
- I don’t understand the question. Would you rephrase it for me, please?
At worst, this buys you a moment of time to consider the question. At best, you’ll throw off the questioning attorney, who may have carefully scripted his question because he or she simply had to in order to address the complexity necessary to the issue being investigated.