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Powerful Witness Preparation

Daniel I. Small

Realize that testimony is far removed from a conversation. It is a precise and unnatural process that requires meticulous preparation – a skill that can be taught, but not one that you’ve encountered in a formal setting. Even if you’ve presented hundreds of witnesses, you can improve your abilities, increase your winning percentage, improve your efficiency as an advocate, and drastically reduce the stress of not knowing which way a witness might take you, or which way that witness might be led astray! 


Dan Small has built a brilliant career on his ability to prepare witnesses to be compelling advocates for his client, even if the witness is his client. As a federal prosecutor, general counsel for a healthcare management company, and as a partner at Holland & Knight, Small has used the same process that he will teach to you to introduce the witness to the foreign land of the deposition, hearing, or courtroom and to prepare them to tell the story in a way that connects to jury or judge and produces winning results. 


He is a respected author on this subject — Preparing Witnesses: A Practical Guide for Lawyers and Their Clients, (4th Edition, American Bar Association). Dan represents witnesses, plaintiffs and defendants in wide-ranging investigations and proceedings and in both civil and criminal litigation; that incredible breadth of experience is reflected in the bottom-line practical counsel he offers in this highly-acclaimed seminar. 


Invest one precious day to discover new tips, tactics and techniques that will make you a more effective advocate. Period. 


  • Learn the step-by-step method to teach your client the basic principles of testifying.

  • Give your client the confidence to exercise the right, the responsibility and the tools to take control of their testimony.

  • Level the playing field where the questioner usually has the advantage.

  • Alert your client to the most common witness mistakes and share practical tips to avoid them.

  • Increase your expertise as an advocate, and give yourself a winning edge in the litigation process.

Program Agenda & Detail

6 Hours Including 1 Ethics Hour

[Part I: 90 Minutes]

I.          Bridging the Gaps
a. The Perception Gap
b. The Conversation Gap
c. The Audience Gap

II.         Understanding the Need
a. Treacherous Environment
b. Unnatural Environment
c. Deceptive Environment

III.       Understanding the Audience
a. Humanize the Witness
b. Humanize the Party
c. Simplify the Language
d. Simplify the Message

IV.         Understanding the Challenge
a. Three Mistakes Witnesses Make
b. Seven Mistakes Lawyers Make


15 Minute Break

[Part II: 90 Minutes]


V.         The Process
a. Preparation – Key Steps
b. Preparation Checklist
c. Key Goals

VI.        The Rules
a. Basic Principles
b. Framing the Message
c. The 10 Rules
d. Making an Impact



[Part III: 90 Minutes]

VII.       Adapting to the Situation
a. Interview v. Testimony
b. Deposition v. Trial
c. Direct v. Cross

VIII.      Expert Witness
a. Role of the Expert
b. Expert/Attorney Relationship
c. Independence of Experts
d. Expert Communications

15 Minute Break

[Part IV: 90 Minutes]

IX.        Ethical Challenges Preparation Does Not Mean Coaching!
a. Extremes and Reality
b. The Perjury Dilemma
c. Conventional Wisdom vs. The New Order

X.         Core Themes/Home Bases

XI.        Understanding the Keys
a. The Witnesses’ Bill of Rights


Unconditional Guarantee
If you are not convinced that your understanding of the course topic has
improved after completion of any P.E.G.® seminar, we will refund your course tuition.

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