Witness Preparation Strategies

Pursuing Aggressive Advocacy While Avoiding Ethical Violations for Woodshedding

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Thursday, October 4, 2012

Recorded event now available

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Program Materials

This CLE webinar will provide litigators with effective techniques for preparing witnesses for deposition and trial. The panel will review the ethical rules applicable to witness preparation, analyze recent case law developments on sanctions for witness woodshedding, and offer strategies to avoid ethical pitfalls.


Witness preparation is a critical challenge for litigators and is often time-consuming and difficult. Effective and successful litigators have a number of witness coaching techniques in their arsenal.

Aggressive witness preparation by counsel is subject to limits imposed by legal ethics rules that prohibit over-coaching or impermissible coaching (woodshedding). However, the rules and case law offer little direction with respect to specific, acceptable (or unacceptable) coaching techniques.

Counsel walks a fine line between effective witness preparation and impermissible coaching that can result in sanctions or witness disqualification. Litigators must understand what the ethical rules prohibit and when it is necessary to step back from that line.

Listen as our panel of experts discusses effective techniques for preparing witnesses for deposition and trial, the ethical rules applicable to witness preparation, recent case law developments on sanctions for witness woodshedding and strategies to avoid ethical pitfalls.



  1. Witness preparation
    1. Client v. non-client
    2. Deposition v. trial
    3. Effective techniques
  2. Limitations
    1. Ethical rules
    2. Relevant case law on sanctions
    3. Avoiding ethical pitfalls


The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • What are the most effective witness preparation techniques?
  • What are the relevant ethical rules applicable to preparing witness testimony?
  • Which witness preparation techniques are most likely to present pitfalls?
  • What are the lessons from case law where the courts sanctioned counsel for witness preparation that crossed the ethical line?

Following the speaker presentations, you'll have an opportunity to get answers to your specific questions during the interactive Q&A.


Teresa Rider Bult
Teresa Rider Bult

Constangy Brooks & Smith

She has successfully tried both jury and non-jury employment discrimination and wage claims, including class claims, at...  |  Read More

Coby Cohen
Coby Cohen
Assistant General Counsel - Litigation & Employment
Knowledge Universe

Mr. Cohen has a breadth of legal experience.  He has worked in private practice with a large law firm as a...  |  Read More

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