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New ABA book provides guidance on preparing witnesses for any legal encounter


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New ABA book provides guidance on preparing witnesses for any legal encounter

By Irma Romero

CHICAGO, May 19, 2014 — As any litigator knows, every witness is different. Yet too many lawyers don't focus enough on helping them through this challenging process. Common themes unite witness preparation. The job of a witness is simply to tell the truth as he or she knew it then, and remembers it now. This is neither an easy nor a natural assignment. To do it right takes hard work. The most important part of witness preparation, beyond reviewing the facts, is teaching the witness to understand the fundamental difference between communicating in a normal conversation and in the precise and unnatural question-and-answer format of a trial or deposition.


A completely revised and updated fourth edition of the landmark book “Preparing Witnesses: A Practical Guide for Lawyers and Their Clients” can dramatically improve witness preparation skills. By focusing on clear and simple rules, then discussing how to adapt those rules to different situations, best-selling author and seasoned litigator Dan Small sharpens attorney skills. This edition includes a new focus on the gaps between lawyers and witnesses, and how to effectively bridge those gaps. New chapters study special situations and how to deal with those situations effectively, turning any witness from a possible liability into a winning asset. The book also includes a CD with accompanying appendix material, including memoranda outlining these rules. 

From government interviews and depositions to hearings and jury trials, witness situations vary, yet all involve similar preparation issues. “Preparing Witnesses” guides attorneys in perfecting their skills for delivering witness testimony with an impact. 

Dan Small, a partner with Holland & Knight in its Boston and Miami offices, is a former federal prosecutor. His extensive litigation practice focuses on witness preparation, government and internal investigations, white-collar criminal law and complex civil litigation. In addition to authoring several books on litigation, he has lectured at Harvard Law School, led continuing legal education classes around the country and is a frequent television, radio and newspaper commentator. 

Title:                “Preparing Witnesses: A Practical Guide for Lawyers and Their Clients,
                         Fourth Edition”
Publisher:        ABA Publishing
Pages:             289
Product Code: 1620627
ISBN:               978-1-62722-755-1
Size:                6 x 9
Binding:           Paperback
Price:               $99.95
Orders:            Order the book at or call 800-285-2221.

What others are saying about “Preparing Witnesses: A Practical Guide for Lawyers and Their Clients, Fourth Edition” 

“This excellent book simplifies the task of convincing clients who are ‘too busy’ just how important preparation is, and how it should be done.” — Alan Dershowitz, professor, Harvard Law School

“I have come to admire and respect Dan Small as an outstanding litigator. He understands that hard work and effective preparation are the keys to success in the courtroom and is well known for his remarkable ability to prepare witnesses.” — Rudolph W. Giuliani, former mayor of New York City

“Dan Small’s extraordinary book offers a way out: helping to teach witnesses and counsel how to communicate truthfully, effectively and confidently. I strongly recommend it.” — William S. Sessions, former federal judge and FBI director

“Dan Small defines preparation like nobody else in the vast literature of the law of trial practice. His step-by-step guide is both a model of clarity and a paragon of completeness. His book is not an option, but a necessity for the experienced and novice trial advocate alike.” — Alex Sanders, College of Charleston president and former chief judge of the South Carolina Court of Appeals

Editor’s note: Author interviews and review copies are available by sending an email to Neal Cox at If you publish a review of this book, please send tear sheets or a copy for our files to Neal Cox c/o ABA Publishing, 321 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60654.

With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.