Frequently Asked Questions
5 Tips For Testifying In Court
When your case or a case you may be attached to goes to court, there’s a chance that you’ll be called to testify in court. This is a common part of the litigation process and – sometimes – one that can make or break a case.
Testifying under oath or in front of a jury can be a very stressful event, especially for those that are not accustomed to doing so. We hope that this short guide provides you with some guidance and direction and makes you more confident if you ever get called to testify in court.
Table of Contents
Your Appearance Is Key
The old saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” is something that is not applicable to court. Dressing too casually or too flashy may distract from the real reason you are there – giving your testimony.
Some key tips on how to manage your appearance in the courtroom:
- Ensure your clothes are clean and wrinkle-free
- If you decide to wear a suit or dress, keep it basic – remember, you’re going to court, not a party
- Make sure your hair is well groomed
If you are testifying in front of a jury, walk to the stand with confidence and conviction – don’t slouch and keep your head up.
To the best of your ability, speak clearly and at a volume and pace that is easy to understand and comprehend. Speaking too fast may make it hard for the jury to keep up and speaking too softly lacks confidence and may lose the interest of the jury.
While you are answering questions from the questioning lawyer, remember that your answers are for the benefit of the jurors.
Always answer questions audibly, do not nod your head for “yes” or “no”.
Remember to avoid distractions like chewing gum.
Tell The Truth
While this should go without saying – tell the truth.
Remember, you have been sworn in under oath, telling the truth is of the utmost importance. Regardless if the truth may hurt your case, it’s your civic duty to respond factually and truthfully.
Your Demeanor and Attitude Are Everything
Don’t lose your temper or let your emotions take control of you while testifying. Some attorneys may attempt to get a rise out of you while asking you questions, always be respond courteously, no matter how anyone else seems to be acting.
Avoid making side remarks, laughing, and other things that may take away from you answers and testimony.
Do Not Volunteer Information
When considering the potential outcome of a case, this may be the most important tip we can give you:
Do not volunteer information when testifying.
What does that mean?
Answer only the questions that are asked. Don’t give your opinions,or your conclusions, and don’t state what someone else may have told you – unless you are specifically asked.
Answered By:Attorney Jason Schiffman
More About Jason:
Jason M. Schiffman, Esq. is an experienced litigator practicing primarily in the fields of personal injury, products liability, estate litigation, and corporate litigation. Attorney Jason Schiffman has personally served as lead counsel in the litigation of over four hundred cases or claims.
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