Expert Witness Academy
Expertise alone doesn’t teach and persuade juries.
“I wish we had ‘Yelp’ for experts!” an attorney exclaimed to us recently. He was referring to the fact that there’s too many times a key expert witness wows during the interview but falls short in mock depositions, or worse, during the real deal.
Indeed, experts usually have the requisite brains and experience – they know what they’re talking about; the problem arises when they can’t communicate that information in a way that the jury understands and connects with. When it comes down to it, you may find yourself facing the realization that your great expert just doesn’t make for a great expert witness.
However, there are proven ways to educate experts on how to effectively advocate your case to a jury. Our Expert Witness Academy was developed for exactly that purpose.
First, expert witnesses’ credibility is by no means a given in the minds of the jury. They need the confidence and delivery to be perceived as an expert. Then, of course, they need to be understood; they must be able to translate complex theories and data into jury-friendly messages. Further, the best experts work your case themes into their testimony, integrating themselves as a seamless piece in your larger puzzle.
Based on our extensive research and experience from hundreds of mock trials and post-trial interviews, we’ve crafted our course to teach experts exactly what they’ll need to give great testimony, including:
- Building Credibility. The qualities and behaviors that increase/decrease credibility, such as speaking styles, word/phrase choices, eye contact, and appearance. They’ll see real video examples of good and bad witnesses, as well as focus group footage of jurors talking about witnesses.
- Presenting Clearly. How to be comfortable, direct, audible, and clear with the information they’re presenting.
- Translating Messages for Jurors. How complicated subject matter can be best simplified into familiar terms and metaphors. Experts need to feel confident teaching the jury, not just talking at them.
- Developing Themes. The importance of case themes, and ways to incorporate and develop those themes within their own testimony.
- Owning Their Role. How to pin down their specific role in the trial or arbitration, so they can focus on nailing their part without feeling the weight of the entire case on their shoulders. We can investigate their individual concerns so they can be acknowledged and addressed.
- Practice, Practice, Practice. While learning how to be a better witness is an essential foundation all witnesses should have, practicing the lessons learned in a Question and Answer session is critical. We will continue to practice direct examination, providing constructive feedback until the witness masters it.
- Keeping Control During Cross. Cross is the time an unprepared expert can get picked apart and quickly lose ground. We teach experts how to stick confidently to their themes and avoid various traps.
Depending on your needs, we offer flexible Individual and Group sessions:
- Individual – Half-Day or Full-Day
- We present and discuss the various lessons with your witness, work on case-specific theme development, and then run through a sample Q&A session to put these lessons into practice.
- Group – 2+ Hours
- We present and discuss the lessons to a group of experts, with the option of extending the session to include individual development and Q&A practice, as desired.