When a business is a party to a lawsuit, they are almost always represented by an attorney whose client is not so much the owner or manager of the business, but the business itself. While the attorney and either the owner of the business or their representative are making most of the strategic decisions, it may seem like the attorney is representing the company and management presence at the trial itself is unnecessary. This is far from true as having a company representative at the trial is important and serves several functions.
In many cases, the owner or manager of a company is a vital witness at the trial. Even if they did not see the specific events in question, they can testify as to how business records are kept, management and human resources practices, and general business and industry topics. The neat keeping of business records, the meaning of industry-specific terminology, and how employee policies are generally put into practice can all be topics which control a case.
Management can also testify to company culture and specific steps and programs they’ve taken to encourage a culture of, for example, safety, inclusivity, creativity, respect, and professionalism. There is some strategy when deciding whether a witness should also serve as the corporate representative as it can impact how much of their deposition testimony is admissible.
When attending trial, the company representative is someone who knows the company inside and out. While your attorney will have prepared exhaustively and the discovery process should illuminate all issues, an experienced representative serves as another set of eyes and ears at the trial. With different education, experience, and background than a business attorney, the representative may hear or see things during the trial and convey their thoughts to the attorney.
A Face of the Company
If there is a jury hearing the case, then having someone represent the face of the company is important. While we want juries to make their decisions based strictly on the facts, jury members are human and can be swayed when reacting to another individual. Whether or not this individual is also a witness or simply serves as a face for the company, the jury will be looking at, and judging, that person.
Who should attend the trial and sit next to counsel will depend a lot on the issue at hand, the size of the company, the testimony expected, and many other factors. In most cases, if you are the owner of the company and you want to attend the trial, you can certainly sit in the benches behind the bar and watch the proceedings. However, if the lawsuit is out of state for you or impacts a specific area of your business such as human resources, you may not feel the need to go. Your business litigation attorney will let you know whether your presence is absolutely required or not.
Because our litigation work focuses primarily on business issues, our lawyers are familiar with the various court systems, jury trials, and the nuances of evidence rules and making a strong impression. To learn more, reach out to the Dunn Law Firm by calling (435) 628-5405 and set up a free consultation today.