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Livestream - Powerful Witness Preparation

CLE Hours: 6 including 6 General, 1 Ethics, 0 Professionalism, 6 Trial Practice



Presenter: Dan Small

Realize that testimony is far removed from a conversation. It is a precise and unnatural process that requires meticulous preparation – a skill that can be taught, but not one that you’ve encountered in a formal setting. 

Even if you’ve represented hundreds of witnesses, you can improve your abilities, increase your winning percentage, improve your efficiency as an advocate, and drastically reduce the stress of not knowing which way a witness might take you, or which way that witness might be led astray!

Dan Small has built a brilliant career on his ability to prepare witnesses to be compelling advocates for his client, even if the witness is his client. As a federal prosecutor, general counsel for a healthcare management company, and as a partner at Holland & Knight, Small has used the same process that he will teach to you to introduce the witness to the foreign land of the deposition, hearing, or courtroom and to prepare them to tell the story in a way that connects to jury or judge and produces winning results.

He is a respected author on this subject — Preparing Witnesses: A Practical Guide for Lawyers and Their Clients, (4th Edition, American Bar Association). Dan represents witnesses, plaintiffs and defendants in wide-ranging investigations and proceedings and in both civil and criminal litigation; that incredible breadth of experience is reflected in the bottom-line practical counsel he offers in this highly-acclaimed seminar. 

Invest one precious day to discover new tips, tactics and techniques that will make you a more effective advocate. Period.



  •  Learn the step-by-step method to teach your client the basic principles of testifying.
  • Give your client the confidence to exercise the right, the responsibility and the tools to take control of their testimony.
  • Level the playing field where the questioner usually has the advantage.
  • Alert your client to the most common witness mistakes and share practical tips to avoid them.
  • Increase your expertise as an advocate, and give yourself a winning edge in the litigation process.
8:30 Greeting
    Julia D. Neighbors, ICLE Director, State Bar of Georgia, Atlanta, GA
8:35 I. Bridging the Gaps (TRIAL PRACTICE)
    a. The Perception Gap 
    b. The Conversation Gap 
    c. The Audience Gap 
  II. Understanding the Need 
    a. Treacherous Environment 
    b. Unnatural Environment 
    c. Deceptive Environment 
  III. Understanding the Audience 
    a. Humanize the Witness 
    b. Humanize the Party 
    c. Simplify the Language 
    d. Simplify the Message 
  IV. Understanding the Challenge 
    a. Three Mistakes Witnesses Make 
    b. Seven Mistakes Lawyers Make
10:05 Break
10:20 V. The Process (TRIAL PRACTICE)
    a. Preparation – Key Steps 
    b. Preparation Checklist 
    c. Key Goals
  VI. The Rules 
    a. Basic Principles 
    b. Framing the Message 
    c. The 10 Rules 
    d. Making an Impact
11:50 Break
12:20 VII. Adapting to the Situation (TRIAL PRACTICE)
    a. Interview v. Testimony 
    b. Deposition v. Trial 
    c. Direct v. Cross
  VIII. Expert Witness   
    a. Role of the Expert 
    b. Expert/Attorney Relationship 
    c. Independence of Experts 
    d. Expert Communications
1:50 Break
2:05 IX. Ethical Challenges: (ETHICS and TRIAL PRACTICE)
  Preparation Does Not Mean Coaching!
    a. Extremes and Reality 
    b. The Perjury Dilemma 
    c. Conventional Wisdom vs. The New Order 
  X. Core Themes/Home Bases   
  XI. Understanding the Keys 
    a. The Witnesses’ Bill of Rights
3:35 Adjourn




Dan Small's Profile

Dan Small Related Seminars and Products

Dan Small’s expansive career provides the unique basis for his excellence as a teacher and author. His impressive body of work includes lawyering for the U.S. Department of Justice, work as corporate general counsel for a national healthcare management firm and private practice with both small and large firms.

He may not have seen it all, but he’s seen a lot of what lawyers do — from varied and meaningful perspectives. In addition, he is a noted author for the American Bar Association (ABA), has served as Lecturer on Law at Harvard University and is a frequent television, radio and newspaper commentator on legal issues.

He is a partner at Holland & Knight, LLP in their Boston and Miami offices. He represents witnesses, plaintiffs and defendants in wide-ranging investigations and proceedings and in both civil and criminal litigation (including fraud, regulation, insider trading, revenue recognition and more).

Small is a member of The Florida Bar and the Massachusetts Bar. He is a 1979 graduate of Harvard Law School and a cum laude graduate of Harvard College. Dan has been inducted into the honorary society Litigation Counsel of America.


Important Information

Please be advised that your credit will not be reported to the State Bar of Georgia CLE Regulation Department until after you have completed the steps necessary to earn credit for that program. 

Self reporting is required for all other jurisdictions.

The information presented is solely for educational purposes. The opinions expressed by the faculty in their materials and presentations are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the State Bar of Georgia, its officers, directors and/or employees. The faculty is not engaged in rendering legal or other professional advice and these presentations and publications are not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. All publications and presentations were created to serve the continuing legal education needs of practicing attorneys.

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