How To Prepare Witnesses for Virtual Proceedings

June 5, 2022 12:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

There are multiple ways to prepare witnesses for virtual cases that prosecutors have used for many years. However, virtual operations have complicated matters, especially during the current technological dispensation. Therefore, here are helpful tips on preparing witnesses virtually. 

1. Analyze Your Remote Technology

Technology is critical for a virtual trial. If any part of your technology is not secure or does not work, it will directly impact the outcome of your case. Therefore, prosecutors need to understand how their technology works and the potential risks.

For example, if you are using Zoom to present evidence, you need to be aware of the potential for "Zoom bombing." This is where uninvited individuals join a Zoom call and disrupt proceedings. You can prevent this by using a password for your Zoom calls and only sending the link to people you trust.

2. Prepare Your Settings

Legal proceedings are formal. You need to make sure that your virtual courtroom is set up to convey this. Your webcam should be at eye level. Place your computer and other electronics on a stack of books or something similar.

Your backdrop should be professional. A clean wall or bookcase works well. You want to avoid anything that could be seen as distracting. Your camera should be in a well-lit area. Natural light is best, but you can also use lamps to make your face visible to the camera.

3. Incorporate Verbal Guidelines

You want your witness to appear confident on camera. Achieve this by helping them understand the basics of presenting themselves virtually. Start by having a conversation about what they will wear. You want them to dress as they would for an in-person court appearance and avoid anything too casual or revealing.

Next, go over the basics of sitting or standing in front of the camera. They should avoid crossing their arms or legs. This can make them appear defensive. Instead, they should sit or stand with their hands at their sides or on their lap. Finally, remind them to speak clearly and slowly to ensure that their testimony can be easily understood.

4. Practice, Practice, Practice

Once you have gone over the basics, it’s time to practice. This is where you can help your witness feel more comfortable with the idea of testifying virtually. Start by having a mock trial and give your witness a chance to get used to being in front of the camera and speaking to the judge and jury. You can also use this opportunity to work on their delivery.

If you have ample time, you can also do a dress rehearsal. They can dress in their court clothes and sit in front of the camera for a few minutes. This will help them get used to how they look on camera and help them to relax on the day of the trial.


Virtual proceedings are becoming more common. To ensure that your witness is prepared, you need to understand the technology and how to use it effectively. You also need to help them understand the basics of virtual etiquette and practice in front of the camera. By following these virtual witness tips, you can help your witness deliver their testimony confidently and effectively. Contact Bartelt | Nix Reporting, LLC if you need assistance with your virtual proceedings.

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