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Litigation: Lights, action, interview

Setting the stage for optimal information gathering in internal investigations

Gathering information, particularly from witnesses, can be an elaborate production. Often the casting and the setting dictate the success of the endeavor; other times mood and tempo drive the outcome. As the investigator, it is incumbent upon you to carefully consider the known personal characteristics and temperament of the witness and to set the stage to achieve optimal results.

Face-to-face versus phone interviews 

Mood, tempo and atmospherics

Like any good theatrical production, interviews should have periods of exposition, action and dramatic climax. All interviews should involve some open-ended questions to allow the witness to tell her story. Sometimes the interviewer should foster rapport with the witness and draw out information in a nonconfrontational manner. At other times, the interviewer should fire leading questions or cajole the witness with awkward silences or stares of incredulity.

Contributing Author

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John Fagg

John Fagg is a member in Moore & Van Allen's Litigation Group. In addition to being an experienced trial lawyer, Mr. Fagg has extensive experience...

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Contributing Author

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Valecia McDowell

Valecia McDowell is a member in Moore & Van Allen's Litigation Group. Ms. McDowell has extensive experience conducting internal investigations for publicly-traded, privately-held and non-profit...

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