Jury Consultant Discusses Witness Prep at Seminar

Jury Consultant Discusses Witness Prep at Seminar

Justin Bieber. An experienced doctor. Bill Gates.

What do these individuals have in common? They make for great examples of what not to do as a witness during trial, according to jury consultant Rachel York Colangelo.

Chisel partner Magna Legal Services visited our office Sept. 27 for a “Witness Communication Training” lunch with its National Managing Director of Jury Consulting, Dr. Colangelo.

Dr. Colangelo discussed how to properly prepare a witness for deposition and trial, including how to encourage a witness’ best performance in front of the jury.

“Teaching the witness to think of themselves as educators – whether they are an expert or not – often helps,” Dr. Colangelo said. “So, rather than being upset at what they may think is an inappropriate question by opposing counsel, the witness should calmly take a breath, turn to the jury, and act like a professor – educate the jury.”

Properly preparing witnesses is crucial, according to Dr. Colangelo, because they are the key storytellers for a case during trial.

“As trial attorneys, your goal should be to tell a compelling story to the jury, and it’s not always easy to do when witnesses don’t understand, ‘What is the story here?’, ‘What’s the bigger picture?’, or ‘Where do I fit in?’,” Dr. Colangelo said.

During the lunch seminar, Dr. Colangelo showed video examples of witnesses who perhaps hadn’t been trained properly for trial, including an uncooperative Justin Bieber, a rambling doctor, and a combative Bill Gates.

Magna LS offers in-person and online witness prep services, as well as other work such as in-person and online jury focus groups/mock trials, voir dire and jury selection assistance, graphics design, translation and interpretation, court reporting, and more. Reach out to our contact Canby Wood at cwood@magnals.com for more information.