When it comes to defending consumers against giant corporations, lawyers need every advantage they can obtain, given the limited resources and odds they often face. That involves ensuring that their clients and witnesses leave opposing counsel with nothing they can use to sway a jury’s decision.
When it comes to how their clients and witnesses portray themselves to the jury, lawyers should be aware of the usage of video deposition. In the past, stenographers prepared text statements for depositions. Video, on the other hand, incorporates the subject’s picture and voice into the deposition. That means that every nonverbal cue, such as body language and physical expression, can either increase or weaken the subject’s evidence. Any flash of emotion, or seeming lack of emotion, will be noticed by jurors, and the subject’s performance during a video deposition might have a significant impact on the jury. If the occasion warrants, even opposing attorneys can benefit from a client’s or witness’s nonverbal indications.
That’s why attorneys should devote as much time and effort to preparing a client or witness for a video deposition as they do to preparing them to testify in court. Clients and witnesses should be aware that how they appear and act during the video deposition can be just as crucial to the jury as the testimony itself.
To prevent the subject’s appearance from unintentionally affecting the jury, the subject should be clothed professionally and put in front of a neutral backdrop. The subject should also be taught how to use good body language, such as not slouching, fidgeting, or making exaggerated facial gestures. Subjects should also be prepared for anticipated lines of enquiry and taught how to ask for clarification if they don’t understand a question.
Video depositions have altered the way testimony is presented to juries, but not necessarily the way in which that testimony can influence a jury. It’s just as vital to prepare clients and witnesses for video depositions as it is to prepare them for the witness stand. The following resource offers some advice for attorneys on how to help their clients and witnesses give their best video testimony.