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Jack Sharman and Tyler Yarbrough Discuss How Setting Impacts Witness Testimony in Law360 Article

February 27, 2024

Lightfoot partner Jack R. Sharman and associate Tyler E. Yarbrough authored a Law360 article (subscription required) examining the influence of setting on witness testimony, highlighted through the recent controversies involving congressional testimonies from three former college university presidents. In the article, Sharman and Yarbrough elaborate on the nuances involved in preparing witnesses to testify before Congress, during grand jury proceedings and at trial. 

In their article, “A Refresher On Witness Testimony In 3 Key Settings,” Sharman and Yarbrough address the practical similarities and important differences between these three settings. Examining three examples of the recent controversy over congressional testimony – Claudine Gay, then-president of Harvard University; Liz Magill, then-president of the University of Pennsylvania; and Sally Kornbluth, president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – they detail the critical emphases and pitfalls in witnesses preparation across these settings. 

“No amount of preparation, of course, can make a mean-spirited, unbelievable or lying witness suddenly generous, credible and truthful. Indeed, that ultimate roadblock is common to all three places — the congressional hearing room, grand jury room and trial courtroom,” Sharman and Yarbrough wrote in the article. “A careful understanding of the differences between the three venues, however, will help witnesses succeed and hopefully move on with their lives.”

Download the PDF of the article here.

Sharman, who is the head of Lightfoot’s White-Collar Criminal Defense and Corporate Investigations practice group, is no stranger to high-profile investigations. Notably, Sharman served as Special Counsel to Congress during the Whitewater investigation and in the highly publicized investigation of a phone call between President Donald Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger during the 2020 Presidential election. 

Yarbrough joined Lightfoot in 2023 and is a former summer associate from the 2021 and 2022 classes, where she gained valuable experience regarding product liability, products, commercial and environmental litigation. She earned her law degree from Cumberland School of Law, where she distinguished herself as President of the Samford University Student Bar Association and made significant contributions to the Law Review.

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