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#23 – How can witness preparation make a difference in your family law case?

deposition prep

#23 – How can witness preparation make a difference in your family law case?



Child welfare attorney Susan Chesnutt talks to communication expert Deborah Johnson about key factors in preparing clients to testify in family law court and depositions.  In this episode, witnesses will learn how to take control of the process and speak with confidence about their case. Deborah Johnson owns a company called High Stakes Communication that works with witnesses in big trials to help them be more confident so they can get their truth to the judge and jury. She and Susan talk about her methods and stories she uses to get this done. They also discuss how witnesses in different types of cases feel before a trial and how they can keep their emotions in check.



[01:17] Susan introduces Deborah Johnson and she explains what she does and how she works with witnesses.

[10:33] Deborah explains how what she does helps attorneys when they question witnesses.

[20:33] Deborah describes the difference between a deposition and trial.

[30:56] Deborah talks about specific methods she uses to help witnesses become more confident.

[37:57] Deborah shares some stories and metaphors to think about that will help you be more confident.

[42:45] Why do some witnesses feel so nervous or scared and what makes them trigger?

[47:39] Deborah explains why she can help lawyers and witnesses.



4:00  “They could have a great case, but if you’ve got a witness that’s a problem, the case could go down the tubes.”

17:42  “You’re not talking to the attorney, you’re talking to the judge, so don’t pay any attention to the attorney. Literally look through them as though they’re a ghost.”

33:11  “Everybody wants to document things on their phone, and as much as I love technology, we break our phones, we lose it we don’t pay our iTunes, iCloud bill, we don’t get our stuff uploaded. It needs to be in a paper form.”

47:08  “You go find the heart of the witness and have them explore that and have them put it on paper and have them stand up and talk about who they are and how they got that way.”

32:58 “If the judge can’t hear them through their pain or their sorrow or their anger, there is no justice, and I’m not an attorney, but that’s what makes me crazy, and so that’s the work that I do.”



Chesnutt Law-Firm Website:

Deborah Johnson: (609) 216-0049 Email:

High Stakes Communication:

American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers:

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