We are celebrating this week, having set a record for reporting the most depositions in one week since our inception in 1987.
This milestone is solely attributed to you, our client, because you continue to allow us to provide you with court reporting services, either locally or nationwide.
This month, our feature article talks about ways to work with the key players in the litigation process and, even though it’s written from a paralegal’s perspective, I believe all litigation support professionals can possibly glean valuable tips from it as well.
I hope you find all of the information in this month’s issue helpful, and I sincerely thank you for your business.
Working With The Players: Witnesses, Judges, Clerks, Bailiffs & Expert Witnesses
By Christi Koch, Inserra & Kelley, Omaha, Nebraska
Successful paralegals are challenged every day by the litigation process. A big part of that challenge is understanding the differences in the responsibilities of the key players as the litigation progresses. This includes not only the client, but fact witnesses, expert witnesses, judges, clerks, bailiffs and court staff.
This process begins at the inception of client contact and proceeds through final disposition of the case, whether it is through trial or settlement. You must be willing to work through your litigation team with each of the players and to establish each team member’s responsibility in the process.
Preparing the Client
The first player you are likely to encounter is the client. Clients appear in all types of personalities. From the first contact, you will begin to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the client.
The most important aspect to evaluate is truthfulness and credibility. It is important from the first meeting to prepare the client not only to be truthful, but how to present his or her case in a way that will be clear, concise, and believable.
Does your witness have behaviors that can be interpreted as dishonest? Does the client appear to have something to hide, or does he appear truthful?
It is important that the client state the facts of his case simply and clearly to avoid the appearance of self-justification or dishonesty. It is also important that the client is clear on the facts of his or her case and is not easily confused or swayed. This may require some additional preparation as to the client’s confidence level by consistently reviewing the testimony.
You must be careful not to alienate the client during this process; however, the client should be prepared to answer the same question phrased in several different ways.