successful deposition survey results what tactics are effectiveIn our recent survey, we asked three questions about what makes a deposition successful. We all know the importance of having successful depositions. The information discovered in them can make or break a case. Attorneys, paralegals, secretaries, court reporters and legal videographers all have important roles in the success of a deposition.

As a resource to you, we created the short survey to gather thoughts and tips about depositions from the various roles involved.

In What Attorneys do to Prepare for a Successful Deposition [Survey Results], we highlighted some of the attorneys’ answers to the first question. This article highlights answers from attorneys, paralegals, a court reporter and a nurse expert to the second. We will highlight other survey results in future articles.

The second question was:

During the deposition, what tactics do you believe to be most effective?

Some of the attorneys’ answers were (the attorneys credited gave their permission):

  • “Listening carefully to the answers to my questions.”
  • “Be kind, be firm, and be curious” – Noura Yunker, Legal Motion Solutions
  • “Depending on the situation I like to start slow and get them comfortable so they start talking and feel free to talk. Then, I culminate with the key questions that the case will turn on.  If I am taking the deposition, I generally want to hear as much as possible as this may be the only chance to talk to them before trial. On the other hand, I try to keep my client or my witness from talking any more than absolutely necessary. If the deposition is for a quick limited purpose, then I hit them with whatever information right off the bat and try to throw them off. However, I generally like to get them talking and say something they will regret later when I get to the main point. Either way, it is extremely important to listen to every word spoken in the deposition.” – Kyle Branson, Gillette Law Firm, P.A.
  • “Using leading questions and allowing the witness to feel comfortable.”
  • “I believe that a calm demeanor is most effective. I’m a firm believer in the saying that ‘you catch more flies with sugar than with vinegar.’” – Wade Dorothy, The Dorothy Law Firm LLC
  • “Tactics vary from deposition to deposition based on a variety of factors.  My general preference is to appear at depositions with a friendly and professional demeanor.” – Mark Katz, Coronado Katz LLC
  • “Listening”
  • “They depend almost totally on the individual being deposed. How confident are they? How well spoken and articulate? Do they think well on their feet? Are they even prepared? I view the deposition almost as living organism that is developing with time and adaptation as it develops. It is a matter of picking up pearls as you go and building from one tactic to another as the needs dictate.”
  • “Preparation, deliberate (not rushed) pace, and clarity.” – Christopher Luhn, Christopher N. Luhn, P.C.
  • “Positive attitude, fairness and clear questions.” – Dennis Horner

Some of the paralegals and legal secretaries answered:

  • “Ask only open ended questions. Avoid questions that can answered ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. Try to garner information only about the things you want to know but are not in the written discovery responses. Save the impeachment and character questions for trial or negotiations.” – Robert Stover
  • “Being prepared, having a plan, knowing what kind of information you want to elicit.”
  • “Making sure the interrogatories are based upon the expected details of the case.”

A court reporter answered:

  • “To be able to see the witness who is speaking. I must speak up and clarify things I have not heard to ensure a clean record, but I always try to keep this to an absolute minimum. Setting up my laptop for easy read-back.” – Teri Finney, Rogers Harvey & Crutcher Court Reporters

A nurse expert answered:

  • “Establish what constitutes the standard of care in that specific situation. Presenting all documentation of facts in the record that illustrate failure to meet the applicable standard of care.” – Janet Scott, Nursing Decisions, Inc.

What tactics do you believe to be most effective during a deposition? Let us know in the comments below!

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