Episode #126 - Answering with "It depends" During Testimony

Guest: Baxter Drennon, Partner - Hall Booth Smith PC

Baxter Drennon, Partner with Hall Booth Smith, joins the podcast to talk about responses to Reptile Theory questions, in particular the answer of "It depends." This response can make some defense attorneys uncomfortable. Steve, Bill, and Baxter discuss the circumstances in which "It depends" is the truthful and most accurate response. They talk about the validity and comfort of a witness varying their responses and what cognitive factors are involved in the way a question is responded to. Baxter shares the approach he takes with his witnesses and the importance of identifying the purpose of the deposition as a way to manage responses. The group talk about the dangers and risks of a witness pivoting when responding to opposing counsel questions, as well as, the opportunity and considerations with a follow-up question to an "It depends" response. Lastly, Steve, Bill, and Baxter discuss the necessity of educating witnesses on the strategy of the case, for them to understand the roles of the witness and the attorney, and what jurors respond to, positively and negatively, when hearing witness testimony.