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Divorce/Separation Post Reply     Print Topic    
User Topic: attorneys writing my trial testimony?
ChoosingHope
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Member # 33606
Default  Posted: 10:02 AM, May 3rd (Saturday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

My attorneys are writing my testimony for trial. Is this normal?

I'm a professional writer, and I'm pretty annoyed that I'm paying for this. My attorneys are not good writers, and they can't write in my voice, and I feel like they are taking advantage of the situation.

Can anyone else tell me how it worked for them?


Posts: 1667 | Registered: Oct 2011
Amazonia
♀ Member
Member # 32810
Default  Posted: 10:37 AM, May 3rd (Saturday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Uh....that doesn't sound normal. I feel like a professor told us in my paralegal program that you're NOT supposed to do that. Talk to the client about what to say and not say, practice with them, etc. but never put words in their mouth. Maybe I'm remembering wrong, but this would make me super uncomfortable if I were you.


"You yourself deserve your love and affection as much as anybody in the universe." -Buddha
"Let's face it, life is a crap shoot." -Sad in AZ

Posts: 13690 | Registered: Jul 2011
tesla
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Member # 34697
Default  Posted: 10:45 AM, May 3rd (Saturday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I can only tell you my experience when I gave testimony at the rule to show cause hearing last fall. Met with my lawyer before the hearing, she told me the list of questions she was going to ask me (they were all softballs...yes or no type questions) and told me to pause before answering any of ex-shat's questions (he represented himself) so she could object.

Granted, that was waaaaaaaaay simpler than what you are going through. But it does strike me as strange that they are writing your testimony out. Certainly worth a "Is this typical procedure?" type question.


"Thou art the son and heir of a mongrel bitch." --King Lear

Posts: 4610 | Registered: Jan 2012 | From: Indiana
Nature_Girl
♀ Member
Member # 32554
Default  Posted: 11:22 AM, May 3rd (Saturday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

My attorney did not write my testimony for any of my court trials. I wrote everything myself, gave it to him well ahead of time, we discussed it, I made necessary edits. The last trial date I did not have to testify, however my statement was included into evidence as written testimony or something to that effect, and I affirmed to the judge that if I were to get on the stand & speak that is what I'd say.

It concerns me that your testimony is being prepared for you. I was coached how to act/react by my attorney, we rehearsed a little on some questions, but he certainly did NOT write my testimony for me.


Me = BS (Stay-at-home-mom)
Him = EX-d out (abusive troglodyte NPD SA)
3 tween-aged kids
Together 20 years
D-Day: Memorial Weekend 2011
2013 - I DIVORCED HIM, I'M FREE!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBOJpIwF47Y

Posts: 9536 | Registered: Jun 2011 | From: USA
Merlin
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Member # 30221
Default  Posted: 11:27 AM, May 3rd (Saturday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Courts look like normal places. They are anything but.

You think you understand what's going in. You don't. Yes they use your native language. But under a set of underlying law, rules of evidence and precedents that render what's really happening inscrutable and abstruse.

You are in a gladiator's ring. You chose a professional advocate to fight for you under the rules of that ring.

If you testify, you will use your own words anyway. You won't be allowed to read from a script. If instead your lawyers are structuring your deposition, let them do that.

They understand the law.


"I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A bird will fall frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself." D. H. Lawrence

Her: WW/57 Me: BS/63 24yrs M
3 great kids, now 22, 20, 17 b,b,g
D-Day 8/14/08, D 1/13/11


Posts: 1164 | Registered: Nov 2010 | From: East Coast
cmego
♀ Member
Member # 30346
Default  Posted: 11:54 AM, May 3rd (Saturday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Choosing…ask for clarification as to why they feel this is important...


me...BS, 43 years old, 2 small kids
WS, 41, multiple gay affairs
M 15 years, together 17
Divorced

"For whatever we lose, like a you or a me, it's always ourselves we find in the sea" ee cummings


Posts: 4113 | Registered: Dec 2010 | From: South
sleepless34
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Member # 40274
Default  Posted: 11:55 AM, May 3rd (Saturday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

My lawyer explained to me that the trial is like a play, it is not real. You are playing a part, he is playing a part. The lawyers develop your story and your character based on their experience of what is going to work. They coach you about what to say and how to say it....but to actually write it is a little over the top.

I would ask them to tell you what the strategy is, who your character is, and what mandatory things need to get communicated and then let you try to deliver your own story against their outline.

Good luck


Me BW- 40ish, awesome
Cheating scusband 40ish
2 kids, elementary school age
Bomb dropped Aug 4 out of nowhere...

Posts: 443 | Registered: Aug 2013 | From: Hell
nekorb
♀ Member
Member # 40306
Default  Posted: 12:51 PM, May 3rd (Saturday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I just want to say that the fact that you have to go through this and ask these kinds of questions because your WS couldn't be faithful or just do the right thing pisses me off on behalf of all of us.

It does seem strange to me that they are scripting your testimony. But I haven't been to court either.


Me: BS 44; Him: WH 47 aka CAT- colossal asshat; Married 22 years
D-day: July 17, 2013, with TT to follow
D filed July 16, 2014, 363 days later than I should have
Psalms 27:14
Wait for The Lord; be strong and take heart. Wait for the Lord.

Posts: 1832 | Registered: Aug 2013
crisp
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Member # 34236
Default  Posted: 1:36 PM, May 3rd (Saturday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Attorney here. Been involved in a lot of litigation and never heard of such a thing. Preparation, including outlines and practice answers to both direct and cross, yes----actual script prepared by the lawyer, never.


Endeavor to persevere. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=csEzTwKemwY

Posts: 373 | Registered: Dec 2011 | From: NE US
woundedby2
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Member # 18522
Default  Posted: 2:12 PM, May 3rd (Saturday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Are you sure its' "testimony" they are writing up? I'd ask for clarification. Perhaps it is a declarative statement or something. It doesn't sound right that they would be writing up your testimony. And it's expensive for you to be paying them to do this.


Me: BS
2 kids: DD15 and DS18
Him: The Assclown NPD
OW: "friend" of 15 years
Divorced! Feb. 2010

Everybody, soon or late, sits down to a banquet of consequences.
~Robert Louis Stevenson


Posts: 7804 | Registered: Mar 2008 | From: SoCal
clralb
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Member # 17185
Default  Posted: 4:41 PM, May 3rd (Saturday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I'm not an attorney, but I work in court trials every day. I have never, ever heard of an attorney writing out their client's trial testimony.

Are you sure he isn't referring to preparing perhaps interrogatory answers?

Are you to have this script in front of you on the witness stand and read from it as he is asking questions? No judge would allow that. It's downright unethical.

I suggest you talk to your attorney and find out exactly what he is doing.

Attorney here. Been involved in a lot of litigation and never heard of such a thing. Preparation, including outlines and practice answers to both direct and cross, yes----actual script prepared by the lawyer, never.


Exactly.


BS Divorced.

They were right about you.


Posts: 676 | Registered: Nov 2007 | From: southeast
roughroadahead
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Member # 36060
Default  Posted: 5:57 PM, May 3rd (Saturday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Non-family law litigation heavy here too, and while Merlin is right to an extent, it makes no sense to write out your actual testimony. You're not allowed to sit there and read it anyway. If you had a prior statement, deposition or written record (e.g. if a doctor testifies, the patient chart) the best I can do is show it to you for a moment to refresh your recollection (or alternatively, you can be impeached with prior statements if you're inconsistent on the stand). Your attorney certainly can't refresh your recollection with a script of his/her own preparation.

Is you attorney expecting you to memorize this or something? Are you sure it is your trial testimony, and not an answer to an interrogatory, for example?


BS-Me 30s
WS-Him 30s
D-Day 4/2012 (Insisted EA only)
D-Day 5/2012 (Did I say EA? Ummm..)
Numerous other TT/broken NC d-days until S 1/2013. D settled 11/2013
MOW-coworker, 40s.
2 DS and DD all w/autism

Posts: 729 | Registered: Jul 2012 | From: USA
ChoosingHope
♀ Member
Member # 33606
Default  Posted: 6:22 PM, May 3rd (Saturday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I am well into my second year - almost third - of divorcing a NPD. Yes, it's my testimony. The story of MY marriage. And yes, they wrote the entire thing for me when we were supposed to go to court a few months ago. And then the trial was postponed.

NOW they are writing it AGAIN! They are revising it to reflect items in the child custody report that were in my favor. On Friday I told them I did not want them to do this - they told me they had already been working on it - without my permission of course.

I am furious. BTW, I am a writer and editor by trade, and I've worked in the editorial field for more than 20 years! And the lawyer can't write, and I HATE the way she makes me sound. HATE IT.

And it's not like I can't tell my story myself. I told it to the child custody evaluator and he ruled for me.

I wrote to them again this morning and asked for them to send it to me. Crickets back. I can only imagine how much money they are charging me for this.

I hate my attorneys as much as I hate NPD STBX. OH, and YES they are making me memorize it. Like 80 fucking pages.


Posts: 1667 | Registered: Oct 2011
Amazonia
♀ Member
Member # 32810
Default  Posted: 7:27 PM, May 3rd (Saturday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Tell them you're not paying for it as you don't want them writing it.


"You yourself deserve your love and affection as much as anybody in the universe." -Buddha
"Let's face it, life is a crap shoot." -Sad in AZ

Posts: 13690 | Registered: Jul 2011
ChoosingHope
♀ Member
Member # 33606
Default  Posted: 9:47 PM, May 3rd (Saturday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Thanks, Ama. If I told them that, they would freak out and tell me to find another law firm. Plus they've already written it. So I'll be charged for it.

Trial is in a few weeks - hopefully. I need to keep pushing through all of this noise and get it all over with. It's been nearly three years, fighting NPD STBX. I am sure I will still get charged, but I am going to wrestle it back from them and rewrite it.

I have to say that I have no respect left for my attorneys. This is one of a dozen issues like this.


Posts: 1667 | Registered: Oct 2011
Topic Posts: 15

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