The Litigation Psychology Podcast presented by Courtroom Sciences, Inc. (CSI) is for in-house and outside defense counsel about the intersection of science and litigation. We explore topics of interest to the defense bar, with a particular emphasis on subjects that don‘t get enough attention. Our hosts are Ph.D.-level Social Scientists, Clinical Scientists, and Psychology Experts with a wealth of knowledge about science, research, human behavior, and decision making, which they apply in the context of civil litigation.
The Litigation Psychology Podcast - Episode 193 - Defense Attorney Strategies for Deposition
Bryan Aghakhani, Partner, Bordin Semmer joins Bill Kanasky, Jr., Ph.D. to talk about the attorney perspective on the deposition. Bryan states that cases are won or lost at deposition and that the preparation before deposition, and being actively engaged at deposition with objections, is key for defense attorneys when defending depositions. Bryan and Bill discuss the difference in preparing a fact witness and a corporate representative 30(b)(6) for deposition and also talk about the strategy and approach for taking a plaintiff's deposition. Bryan shares his thoughts on taking the deposition of the plaintiff's expert and the philosophy around hiring an expert for the defense. Watch the video of this episode: https://www.courtroomsciences.com/r/HvF
The Litigation Psychology Podcast - Episode 192 - The Fallacy Behind Humanizing the Corporation for Jurors
Steve Wood, Ph.D. & Bill Kanasky, Jr., Ph.D. talk about the misperception that humanizing the corporation is valuable and relevant to jurors. Often, defense counsel and the companies they represent want to talk at trial about how their company is made up of individuals just like the jurors, how much the company gives in charity, how many volunteering activities they do, and more. Steve and Bill debunk the assumption that time spent humanizing the company will make jurors more sympathetic toward the company. Talking about all of the things the company does that "humanizes" them is a waste of valuable time and doesn't resonate with jurors. Rather, the way that the corporate rep for the company presents at deposition and trial is much more important than focusing on the humanizing the company. The person representing the company needs to be authentic, caring, compassionate, etc. and this will be much more meaningful and impactful with jurors than a company "commercial" that tries to humanize the company. Watch the video of this episode: https://www.courtroomsciences.com/r/40U
The Litigation Psychology Podcast - Episode 191 - The Science Behind How Depositions Start
Dr. Bill Kanasky, Jr., Ph.D. talks about the science behind how depositions begin. Most opposing counsel start off being friendly and nice and asking very simple, non-threatening questions at the beginning of the deposition to get the witness's guard down. The witness's brain gets comfortable with these easy questions which allows opposing counsel to take advantage of their comfort with later questions that are case specific and include bad facts and other difficult topics. The whole goal for plaintiff attorneys is to disarm the witness and turn the dynamic into a conversational situation to get the answers they are looking for. Witnesses need to be taught that these initial questions are a trap and must be taken as seriously as the more challenging case specific questions that will come later in order to establish the proper cognition for all questions. All types of questions that opposing counsel will ask should be practiced.
The Litigation Psychology Podcast - Episode 190 - Health & Fitness in the Trucking & Transportation Industry
Dr. Mark Manera, Founder and CEO of Supply Chain Fitness, joins Bill Kanasky, Jr., Ph.D. to talk about fitness in trucking and transportation. Mark is a physical therapist and founded his company after identifying the level of unhealthiness in the trucking industry. Bill and Mark discuss the challenges with helping transportation companies understand the value and return on investment in health and physical fitness programs and how Mark has been addressing some of the objections to costs for these types of programs. Mark describes the programs his company offers including exercise, nutrition, and coaching and how he works to make things simple and accommodating for drivers such as exercises that can be done outside the truck, inside the truck, etc. He also provides nutritional guidance and healthy options for eating while on the road. Lastly, Bill and Mark talk about the impact of small changes, sleep hygiene, and the importance of rest. Watch the video of this episode: https://www.courtroomsciences.com/r/9kK
The Litigation Psychology Podcast - Episode 189 - Competing Priorities at Deposition Prep
Ava Hernandez joins Steve Wood, Ph.D & Bill Kanasky, Jr., Ph.D. to discuss competing priorities at deposition prep. The client, attorney, and witness are all involved at different levels in the deposition prep though sometimes the goals for each aren't aligned and may be in conflict with one another. The group discusses the witness's perspective and how their brain is wired to survive which, if not properly trained, may lead to answering questions in a non-ideal way. The attorney may be focused on defending their client and may not fully understand how a witness should be prepared in order for them to deliver their best performance. And the client might also be advocating for defending themselves and not aware of what the purpose of the deposition is (hint: its not to win the case) which is to get to the other side of the deposition without making things worse.
To address these competing priorities, it's important to get alignment on the objectives before any deposition prep starts and to invest the time with the witness to evaluate, assess, and address any emotional issues or concerns that the witness may have to ensure they can be successful with the training and prep. The witness's needs and perspective must be front and center and attorneys and clients should treat them as an integral part of the process so they understand their role and why the legal team is asking them to do what they are asking for. Watch the video of this episode: https://www.courtroomsciences.com/r/b6a
The Litigation Psychology Podcast - Episode 188 - Effective Listening Skills for Witnesses During Testimony
Bill Kanasky, Jr., Ph.D. talks about the importance of effective listening skills by the witness during testimony. Listening is a skill that must be taught by a neurocognitive expert because the brain is not wired naturally to listen, particularly to the degree required during questioning. Bill dispels the myth that witnesses should engage in active listening during their testimony. Active listening is a communication tactic whereby the listener is analyzing the gestures, body language, tone of voice, posture, etc. of the speaker to understand their point and then when responding, adjusting the listener's own body language, tone, gestures, etc. to acknowledge you understood what the speaker was saying. The skill of active listening is not meant for an adversarial situation like a deposition or trial.
When preparing a witness for testimony, you want your witness to practice passive, focused listening and not spending energy on trying to interpret opposing counsel's body language, tone, and posture as these can be a trap for your witness. In an adversarial environment like testimony, active listening will actually hurt the witness as the opposing counsel is often trying to manipulate the witness. The purpose of active listening is to send non-verbal signals to the speaker to acknowledge that you are hearing and understanding what they are saying. This is not relevant or appropriate during testimony.
This is an excellent podcast- full of information, humor and brutal honesty. Love it!
Expert in litigation psychology
Bill gives practical advice from years of expertise in jury selection and witness preparation, but his demeanor is conversational and easy to understand.