No experienced arbitration advocate doubts the necessity of thorough preparation. But how to organize one’s efforts to maximize the time and resources devoted to preparing the case is not intuitive. In this two-part article, the authors offer their suggestions on how a party or her advocate can develop their preparation game plan. Part two addresses the crucial task of interviewing witnesses (and potential witnesses). Beginning with a discussion of the interviewer’s own personality, attitude and manner of asking questions through the selection of witnesses including employees and even former employees, the authors stress the painstaking importance of deliberate and careful investigatory techniques and decisions.
Interviews are usually essential in obtaining information. Interviewing is not as simple as it may appear at first. It is important to keep in mind that individuals do not remember events accurately or completely. Further, what the interviewer asks, fails to ask, and remembers as important may be influenced by the interviewers own biases, experiences, and ability to read nonverbal communication.
All persons who have information, helpful or harmful, should be interviewed. Interviews serve a variety of purposes, including:
• Learning everything a person knows about an event.
• Obtaining admissions from the person being interviewed.
• Uncovering information the opponent already knows.
• Obtaining information affecting the person’s credibility.