Preparing Witnesses for Trial

A paralegal working for a firm doing litigation may be asked to prepare a witness or witnesses for trial.

1.  The paralegal will need to first ensure that the witness(es) are available and will be in court on the date set for trial.  Even when witnesses are friendly to a party, their appearance cannot be guaranteed without a subpoena.

  • The paralegal will need to contact witnesses and issue subpoenas to secure their appearance
  • The paralegal will need to comply with the California Code of Civil Procedure’s requirements for trial subpoenas including, but not limited to the payment of witness fees when the subpoenas are served on witness.
2.   The paralegal will need to arrange for the witnesses to come to the office to prepare for testifying at trial.  It is unethical for an attorney or his/her staff to tell a person how to testify (as to content), but it is not unethical to prepare a witness for what is likely to happen or the types of questions that might be asked at trial by trial counsel on both sides.
  • The paralegal may be asked to prepare the witnesses for trial by asking them questions and/or role-playing
  • The paralegal should tell the witness what to expect, e.g. the types of questions that are likely to be asked.
  • The paralegal should also review with the witness or party any prior statements or discovery responses which that witness or party has made in the litigation.
  • The paralegal may also engage in role-playing with a witness to rehearse how questions and answers will flow during testimony at trial.
  • The paralegal should also discuss with the witness the property attire and demeanor for trial including what not to wear and what not to discuss in the presence of anyone besides the attorney.

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Hi, Love your blog. I’m tyring to figure out how to contact you. I’d like your permission to use your blog in Paralegal courses I teach. I will give credit to you and your blog. Please email me if you have any concerns.

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