Client and Witness Preparation

Jennifer O’Connell consults with colleagues to take the testimony of their clients, expert witnesses, and lay witnesses to the next level.

Jennifer developed the R.I.S.E. method of testimony that can be applied to all types of witnesses to get to the core of their truth and the stability of their focus.

The Method

The R.I.S.E. Method is about tossing out the old way of prepping witnesses in a cram session, with a list of do’s and don’t’s and canned responses the witness needs to memorize or the entire case may fall apart like a house of cards. In the R.I.S.E. Method, the witness goes through a process of four steps:

  • Reassure
  • Identify
  • Simplify
  • Empower

This Method is applied over a series of sessions which, depending on the witness, can range from one to two hours and occur two to three times a week for two to three weeks. By the end of the process, the witness has become clear in their truth, has shed any fears of testifying or learned how to embrace those fears, and has learned simple rules that empower them to feel confident in their role in the case.

This Method is successful because it is based on the concept that Maya Angelou expressed so well: “People are not going to remember what you said to them, they are going to remember how you made them feel.” The R.I.S.E. Method makes the witness feel like you (1) believe them, and (2) believe in them.

Through the R.I.S.E. Method, you are finding the witness’s truth through learning their story, and you are asking for their permission to share it. You show them confidentiality (where applicable), authenticity, empathy, support, and gratitude.

Jennifer has given seminars on the R.I.S.E. Method for Trial Guides. You can learn more about the Method and how to apply it to your cases by purchasing the seminars below:

Preparing Expert Witnesses for Deposition And Trial

So now what? You understand the Method. You see how it works. But you have trial looking. You have motions to file and respond to, subpoenas to issue, outlines to write, and voir dire to narrow down.

And in the meantime, opposing counsel is asking for depositions of your clients in other cases. How then do you apply the R.I.S.E. method?

Why Hire a Consultant?

Who has time to implement the R.I.S.E. Method for every single client? What about every single lay witness and expert witness? You? Definitely not. You have your eye on the liability, the medicine, the science, the strategy, the offense, and the defense.

So who at your firm has a light enough load to step in? And the willingness, knowing it means weeks of two-hour-long prep sessions? Just for a deposition? Think about it.

You must make the time. How your client, your expert, even your lay witnesses testify is vital to a case.

One single witness cannot make a case, but one single witness can break a case.

Bring in an extra set of eyes, an extra mind to see the facts from a 30,000-foot view. But more importantly than that, bring someone in who has the time to put in the work that is necessary to get your witness ready. Whether it is getting your client ready for their deposition or getting your expert ready for a depo or trial, take the extra step.

The value difference in a well-prepped witness far surpasses the investment of time.

What Can I Expect?

Over the two to three weeks prior to the deposition/testimony, Jennifer will first have a pre-prep consulting meeting with you about your goals for the witness and their particular testimony. Your office will provide case-related documents requested by Jennifer for her preparation and analysis, and the Queener Law team will work with you to schedule a minimum of five prep sessions with the witness.

The first introductory session generally lasts thirty minutes to an hour, and each session thereafter lasts one to two hours depending on the needs of the witness and the process. You may attend these sessions or not attend these sessions. Your attendance is not required, and your decision of whether or not to attend is discussed at your initial consultation meeting with Jennifer.

For the day of the testimony, you may choose to have Jennifer present, participating remotely but confidentially, or not present. This, too, is a personal choice that can be discussed with Jennifer either at the consultation meeting or throughout the prep sessions. If you believe you would like to have Jennifer present or participating remotely, please ensure you contact our office with enough notice to ensure her calendar is open for the date of the testimony.

What is the Cost?

All of Jennifer’s consulting services operate on a flat fee so you and your client can plan your case expenses. The cost for testimony prep does not increase if Jennifer adds sessions during the process or if sessions run over the planned time. You will be given a Consulting Agreement signed by you and Jennifer with the flat fee and the terms of the Agreement for her services at the time of hiring.

The cost for testimony prep services is based on (1) the amount of materials Jennifer needs to review in order to prepare the witness, (2) whether the prep is for a client, lay witness, or expert witness, (3) and whether the testimony is for a deposition, hearing, or trial. For instance, Jennifer will review the entirety of your personal injury client’s medical history – past and related – as well as defense expert reports in order to prepare your client for their deposition. This type of service could require more time than if Jennifer prepared your client’s friend or family member to testify at trial about your client’s harms and losses.

During the initial consultation call, Jennifer will give you the flat fee for the service you are requesting, send you a written explanation of that flat fee, and allow you as much time as you need to discuss the fee with your client so they can approve it as a case expense.

Contact Jennifer O’Connell at 720.696.9088 or jennifer@queenerlaw.com to discuss consulting with her for witness preparation today!