Molly Murphy, Trial Consultant/Mediator

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Witnesses “Box of Knowledge”

Attorney Molly Murphy - Witnesses Box Of KnowledgeWitnesses are an intrinsic part of the case. They are the dialog that connects with the jury's emotions, sensibility, common sense and logic. They provide credibility if their message is clear and trustworthy. The witnesses can expand and create the dimension of the case. They are the face of your case.

The witnesses help make sense of the evidence. The preparation of these witnesses must be thoughtful and strategic. I have created a technique for witness preparation called the “Box of Knowledge.” The premise is that you build and establish boundaries of their testimony by creating the 4 corners of the testimony. The corners include 1) foundation of who they are 2) why are they testifying 3) how do they know 4) what do they know. The purpose of this model is to build the parameters and boundaries of the witness’s actual knowledge. This will keep them from stating their opinions, beliefs, assumptions, speculations and conjectures. Just because they are asked a question doesn’t mean that they know the answer. But the tendency is to give an answer. Humanly, we want to add to our personal knowledge because it sounds better or is more convincing. Witnesses will also change their position if it appears to be more acceptable or favorable testimony. They will justify their lack of knowledge, stating that the lawyer must have thought that I knew the answer, so I answer it.

The declared boundary in testimony will keep your trial strategy and presentation clear and reasonable. When witnesses stretch the truth and knowledge they become targets for harsh and devastating cross-examination.

The impact of testimony is coupled with the phrasing of the statements, tone of voice, pacing, attitude, micro-expressions and body language. The credibility of their knowledge is presented through the delivery. It is through your strategy that threads their testimony into the case.

Note: Honing your discovery will assist in determining what you want out of your witnesses.

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4 Corners of Your Case

Contact Information

Molly M. Murphy, MDR
Trial Consultant/Mediator

4000 Pacific Avenue, Suite 101
Marina Del Rey, CA 90292
Phone: 310-458-7720

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