Preparing witnesses – whether fact witnesses or experts – for deposition or trial or conferring with them during breaks in testimony fraught with ethical issues.
Expert witnesses are paid for their time, not their testimony. Though they may be hired to support a client's view of the facts, there are limits to how experts can be coached. There are also real limits to how attorneys can prompt fact witnesses, for instance to "not remember" unfavorable facts. There are also significant ethical issues involving how to handle inadvertently produced privileged documents and when testimony goes in an unexpected adverse direction.
This program provides a practical guide to the ethical issues and traps of working with witnesses.
- Paying witnesses for their time versus their testimony
- Prompting a witness to "not remember" unfavorable testimony
- Conferring with witnesses during deposition breaks and the limits of what you advise
- Dishonest witnesses – what are your obligations to the court and your client?
- How to handle the inadvertent production of privileged documents
- Drafting witness affidavits without interviewing the witness