Belated Monday Practice Tip for Young Attorneys- Deposition Prep Part 2

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Last week we doled out our first two tips for preparing for deposition.  We have a few more for you today!

3) Do some major reconnaisance on the witness.  We are frequently shocked at how much information is available on the internet, yet we forget when to use it!  Many attorneys prepare for deposition by reviewing written discovery such as interrogatory responses and/or documents that have been produced in discovery such as medical records.  If this is all you do, you are selling yourself way short.  At minimum, you should be running criminal background checks, google searches, facebook searches, twitter searches, asset searches, and anything else you can think of, particularly on the social media front.  Ever notice how many people can’t so much as go to a restaurant without tweeting about it or posting photos on Facebook about it?  What if you had a personal injury case with a Plaintiff saying they’re physically incapable of anything, but then you find on their Facebook page photos of them on a jetski the previous weekend with a big smile on their face?  Wouldn’t that be a nice weapon to pull out in deposition?  One that your opposing counsel may not see coming?   

4) No such thing as “saving it for trial.”  You won’t find universal agreement on this.  Some lawyers like to save their most dangerous ammo for trial, when the jury’s in place and the witness has no idea the question is coming — the fabled “Perry Mason Moment.”  In reality, these moments are a pipe dream.  98% of all cases settle before trial.  A successful handling of the case is more often a favorable settlement at mediation than it is jury verdict.  Accordingly, in this day and age the strategy should be to exact leverage now, not to save it for some hypothetical Perry Mason Moment.   Not to mention, there’s nothing worse than thinking you have an invincible question and having a witness calmly avert your trap.  The Perry Mason Antidote is more hurtful than the successful PMM is helpful!  The lesson:  save nothing for trial.  Fire your bullets now. 

We will be back next week with some more tips!

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