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September 23, 2020

New ABA book provides guidance on preparing witnesses for positive outcomes

CHICAGO, Sept. 23, 2020 — The American Bar Association has published an updated edition of “Preparing Witnesses: A Practical Guide for Lawyers and their Clients,” which is designed to help lawyers better prepare their clients for the intimidating process of being questioned.

The job of a witness is to simply tell the truth to the best of their recollection, but this is neither an easy nor a natural assignment. To do it right takes hard work. The critical importance of witness preparation, beyond just reviewing the facts, is teaching the witness to understand the fundamental differences between communicating in a normal conversation and in the formal and unnatural question-and-answer format of a trial or deposition.

Written by ABA bestselling author and seasoned litigator Dan Small, “Preparing Witnesses” is an easy-to-read guide providing a systematic witness preparation process and offering strategies and “Ten Rules” to help make witnesses comfortable and effective in a wide range of witness scenarios.

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

Dan Small, a partner with Holland & Knight LLP 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 programs around the country; and is a frequent television, radio and newspaper commentator.

Title: “Preparing Witnesses: A Practical Guide for Lawyers and Their Clients, 5th Edition
Publisher: ABA Publishing
Pages: 274
Product Code 1620799
ISBN: 9781641057615
Size: 6 x 9
Binding: Paperback
Price: $99.95

Editor’s note: Review copies are available by sending an email to Francine Bennett-Beasley at [email protected]. If you publish a review of this book, please send tear sheets or a copy for our files to Francine Bennett-Beasley, ABA Book Publishing, 321 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60654.

What others are saying about “Preparing Witnesses: A Practical Guide for Lawyers and Their Clients, 5th Edition”

“Great insight into what makes an effective witness and how to talk to clients about it. This book should be on the shelf of every lawyer who may represent a witness in any investigation or proceeding.” — James M. Cole, Sidley Austin LLP, former deputy attorney general of the United States

“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

“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, president, College of Charleston, former chief judge of the South Carolina Court of Appeals

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers 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.