The Importance of Pre-Litigation Preparation for Corporate Representatives

CSI - Courtroom Sciences Inc.

Corporate representatives often become pivotal figures in legal proceedings, representing the corporation's interests and providing key information during a deposition and trial. Because the role can significantly impact the outcome of a case, selecting the right candidate to serve as the corporate representative is paramount.

The traditional approach of designating the person most knowledgeable (PMK) within the company as the corporate representative doesn't always yield the best results. Rather, to identify the best candidates, corporations need to engage in pre-litigation preparation to assess an individual's potential and capability to perform well during a challenging deposition with an aggressive plaintiff attorney.

At Courtroom Sciences, we deliver a strategic, deliberate approach designed to train corporate representative candidates to serve in that role, ensuring their testimony performance is well-received.

How can pre-litigation preparation for corporate representatives impact the overall success of litigation outcomes?

Pre-litigation preparation, specifically advanced neurocognitive witness training, helps to equip corporate representatives with the necessary skills for effective testimony. During preparation, steps are taken to rewire the brain to avoid falling for the tricks and traps commonly used by experienced plaintiff attorneys that can lead to devastating litigation outcomes.

The Need for Pre-Litigation Preparation

A quote famously attributed to Alexander Graham Bell says, “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” Pre-litigation preparation offers several significant advantages to corporate clients, particularly the ability to thoroughly evaluate potential corporate representatives, increasing the likelihood of choosing the right individuals to represent the company's interests.

This proactive approach can also help minimize risks as pre-litigation training allows representatives to have the training needed to be confident and ready when called upon to testify. This type of preparation goes beyond merely the specifics of a particular case and is an advanced neurocognitive witness training program.

Advanced neurocognitive witness training, specifically designed for corporate representatives, equips potential witnesses with the necessary skills to perform effectively during depositions. Following the witness training, mock deposition sessions can then be used to test the corporate representatives under the scrutiny of legal counsel. This training is a comprehensive approach to evaluate a witness's capabilities and identify areas for improvement. By addressing these challenges early in the process, witnesses become better equipped to handle what  they will face during deposition and trial testimony.

The Importance of Humanizing the Corporate Representative

The role of a corporate representative tends to go beyond just their testimony. They are also frequently tasked with projecting a trustworthy and credible image of the company they represent. This can mean that appearing arrogant, dismissive, or evasive may cause jurors to view the company skeptically. Adequate preparation can substantially affect how these representatives present themselves and how the jury perceives them.

Therefore, another critical aspect of pre-litigation preparation for corporate representatives centers on finding ways to humanize the corporate defendant. Data indicates jurors don’t accept the argument that the corporation is comprised of regular people who merely go to work every day and try their best. Because of that and these individuals' influence on how jurors perceive the corporation, it becomes increasingly important to find ways to humanize the corporate representative as part of the pre-litigation preparation. 

Strategies to help humanize the corporate representative can include:

1.  Have a plan for communicating in a crisis - The company's (and its representatives) credibility is on the line during a crisis. By working with an experienced crisis management and crisis response team, companies can craft a compelling narrative for the incident and the company's response. A well-thought-out crisis communication strategy can defend the company's reputation and potentially enhance it. By conveying a thoughtful and credible response, the company can build trust with the public (and potential jurors), ultimately helping humanize its image.

2.  Learn to identify anti-corporate bias in jury selection - Asking insightful voir dire questions and digging deeper into juror attitudes, beliefs, experiences, and personalities is a key method for identifying potential anti-corporate bias among jurors. Often, a common theme for plaintiff’s counsel to bring up during litigation is the argument that corporations will prioritize profits over safety. Jurors with strong anti-corporate biases are unlikely to be swayed by attempts to humanize the corporation, making identifying jurors with these biases a critical step in shaping the trial outcome. 

3.  Remain alert throughout the litigation process - Vigilance is essential for humanizing the corporate defendant. Corporate representatives must be mindful of their behavior and the impression they leave on the jury, even when they are not on the witness stand. Jurors are astute and observant and may form opinions based on the corporate representatives' conduct, whether inside or outside the courtroom.

Pre-litigation preparation is essential in selecting the most effective corporate representatives and ensuring that corporate representatives are ready to face the challenges of legal proceedings. This proactive approach is not only cost-effective but also critical in protecting the interests of corporate clients.

At Courtroom Sciences, our psychology experts can help evaluate and train corporate rep candidates to serve in that role, ensuring their testimony performance is well-received. Speak with one of our experts to get started. 

Key Takeaways

●  Choosing the right candidate for the role of a corporate representative is crucial, as their performance can significantly impact the outcome of a legal case.

●  Engaging in pre-litigation preparation is essential to assess an individual's potential and identify areas for improvement in corporate representatives.

●  Proactive pre-litigation preparation includes advanced neurocognitive witness training to equip them with the necessary skills for effective testimony.

●  Pre-litigation preparation should also focus on humanizing the corporate defendants to make them more relatable and likable to jurors.

●  At Courtroom Sciences, our psychology experts can help corporate clients through focused corporate representative training.

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