Ten Tips for Taking More Effective Depositions


Pretrial depositions are a core, yet time-consuming part of any litigation.  In a complex lawsuit, each party may take upwards of 10-25 depositions, and the process may last for months – even years.  Despite the time and effort, depositions can often produce some of the most important evidence.

However, there is often a mentality among lawyers that pretrial depositions are only minimally useful. Experienced attorneys may spend an entire deposition just walking through documents with a witness or asking off-the-cuff questions, without strategizing about how the deposition could assist in the overall success of the lawsuit. Meanwhile, younger attorneys are often assigned to take a deposition with little or no training, and rarely have a good plan in place for what they should try to get out of the process.  The deposition will often end without the deposing attorney obtaining a single bit of useful testimony.

With preparation and planning an effective deposition can be one of the most powerful tools in the lawsuit.  A good deposing attorney can draw out inconsistencies in a witness’s testimony, get useful sound bites for trial, and even get “smoking gun” admissions.  Armed with this information, a party can often file a dispositive motion on the basis of the damaging testimony, force a settlement, or at the very least lock a witness into damaging testimony at trial. Below, therefore, are 10 tips that any litigator can use to take a more effective expert witness deposition.

To read the full article, click here: http://www.iptoday.com/issues/2013/03/ten-tips-for-taking-more-effective-depositions.asp.

Christopher Scharff is a Shareholder at McAndrews, Held & Malloy, Ltd. in Chicago, IL.  His practice includes patent, trademark, antitrust and unfair competition litigation, as well as counseling clients on patent and trademark matters for mergers and acquisitions. cscharff@mcandrews-ip.com

Originally published in Intellectual Property Today.

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