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Communication Skills, Report Writing, and Courtroom Testimony for Forensic Analysts


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Professionalism, competency, objectivity, and integrity: these are the concepts that should come to mind when considering the appropriate demeanor to exhibit in court proceedings. Maintaining the integrity of the individual as well as the science involved is critical. "Yes, sir," "no, sir," "yes, Your Honor," "no, Your Honor," and the like are entirely appropriate.

Handling the Aggressive Attorney

Photo of woman with a professional demeanor
National Institute of Justice (NIJ) (see reuse policy).

Circumstances will certainly arise that will tempt the analyst to enter into a debate or confrontation with the attorney. There are more effective methods to deal with attorneys who create such circumstances. It is important to remember that the attorney may be doing nothing more than intentionally trying to confuse or agitate the analyst during their testimony. The strategy has less to do with the substance of the testimony and more to do with demeanor and presentation to the jury.


  • Remain professional and composed.
  • Remain objective.
  • Use volume and tone to deflect hostility.
  • Explain answers, if necessary.


  • Become agitated or argumentative.
  • Permit the attorney to put words into your mouth.
  • Become personally invested in the case or its outcome.

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