Skip to main content

Training Guide

Prepping a Witness for Direct


Training Guide

Prepping a Witness for Direct

Trial Practice

What’s Covered

  • Ahead of the Prep
  • Starting the Prep
  • Practicing the Direct
  • Fine-Tuning the Direct

Before the Session

Prepare the Attendees

Send the attendees an invitation for the session. Include this link, which has the videos and exercise they’ll need to prepare.

Prepare Yourself

Watch the videos and read the exercise so you’re familiar with the Hotshot material.

  • still frame from Ahead of the Prep


    Prepping a Witness for Direct

    How to prepare your witness for their direct examination. Includes how to discuss their answers with them, prepare them on negative points, and instruct them on demeanor. Also covers strategy for an effective mock Q&A.

During the Session

Part 1: Knowledge Check
Ask attendees these questions to ensure they understand the topic:
  • What are some things you have to do in advance of the prep session?
  • How do you prep the witness on demeanor?
  • At prep, how do you handle negative points that you plain to raise on direct?
  • How do you do a mock direct?  
  • What can you do when the witness is struggling to convey the information clearly or accurately, even after a few rounds of mock Q&A and feedback?
Part 2: Group Exercise
Lead a group discussion based on the exercise. To encourage collaboration, divide the attendees into groups to discuss the exercise, then have a representative from each group summarize their views to the larger group. Call on people to share their thoughts and ask others to respond.
Tip for remote sessions: use your web conferencing system’s breakout room feature to divide people into groups.
Part 3: War Stories and Firm Specifics
Share your own experiences and guidance, including:
  • Anecdotes and war stories (e.g., about a near-disaster or a tough negotiation)
  • General practice tips (dos and don’ts)
  • Firm-specific guidance and practices

After the Session

To continue their learning, attendees can check out related courses in Hotshot’s Trial Practice topic.

About Hotshot

Hotshot helps lawyers develop their legal, business, and technology skills through short videos, quizzes, and summaries, and we help law firms and law schools plan and deliver engaging training programs. Our customers include Am Law 200 firms, top law schools, and regional and international firms.

Contact us at if you’re interested in a free consultation about remote training for your firm.

Log in or sign up at