Witness Summaries are a quick, easy way to get a thorough understanding of the testimony you’ll be hearing in court. They’re especially useful for witnesses who are less experienced or nervous about testifying for a summary deposition. Here are seven reasons why:
- It helps you prepare for what’s coming. When you know ahead of time what the witness will say and how they’ll say it, it helps you understand where their testimony is going and how best to approach it.
- It provides you with an important outline of the case. You’ll see all the important parts of the case laid out in front of you so that when questions come up during cross-examination, you can use your witness summary as a guide to help guide your response.
- It’s fast and easy to take notes on—no need to write down everything verbatim! Just make sure you’re taking notes as quickly as possible because some witnesses may change their stories as they go along or forget parts that are relevant later on in trial proceedings (e.g., “I didn’t mention this before because I forgot it at first but now remember it”).
- They allow you to get a sense of the evidence that will be presented, which allows you to prepare for it in advance.
- They keep track of all the different witnesses who have been involved in your case, so you can easily keep track of what they’ve said.
- They provide a way for you and your lawyer to communicate with each other about how to proceed with your case.
- They provide a way for other people involved in the case, like judges and attorneys from other firms, to see what evidence has been collected so far. This helps them make decisions about how the trial should proceed or how much time should be spent on particular pieces of evidence.
- It helps prevent surprises at trial—you’ll know what’s going on ahead of time (and so will everyone else involved).
- It saves money—instead of having every single person involved come into court every day, we can just use their witness summary instead!
Whether you are a witness involved in a personal injury claim or other lawsuit, or a lawyer drafting up your summaries, understanding the value of these summaries will ensure that your side is prepared and organized enough to win really big.
Sheila LaCivita is the owner of 4 Corners Depo. She got a paralegal degree with distinction from UCLA and has been helping lawyers with deposition summaries. She wants to share her knowledge and experience with others.