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Witness, Don’t Teach” (in Deposition), by Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm, Persuasive Litigator™


One common piece of advice given to fact witnesses during deposition preparation meetings is that it isn’t their role to instruct opposing counsel on everything they ought to know:  ‘Witness, Don’t Teach.’ . . .

Earlier this week, I was working with an anesthesiologist who simply could not deaden his impulse to take each question as an invitation to explain, expand, and expound. Applying our advice to ‘just answer the question and stop’ proved difficult once he got into the expository groove of his typical conversation style with colleagues, patients, and family members. That habit is one worth breaking, even if it takes some extra work and focus. . . . To aid in the continuing effort to convince witnesses to take off their teacher’s hats during the deposition, this post shares five reasons why that’s a good idea. . . .