Inside Counsel

Unearthing the benefits of proactively identifying potential company witnesses and key factors to consider in that process. 

In many instances, litigation witnesses are like relatives and neighbors—they cannot be selected, but rather, must be accepted. If someone is a key part of a transaction or an event, that person may be an unavoidable witness if the matter goes to litigation. Other times, however, a company may find that it has choices with respect to its witnesses.

Either way, thinking about “who would make a good witness” is a useful exercise for an in-house lawyer, even before litigation arises. Some people have natural skills that can make them good litigation witnesses; others may not have such skills but can become effective with preparation. The best witnesses, however, are a combination—people with some innate skills, who have been prepared for the litigation process. Thus, great witnesses are equal parts born and made.

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