{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "I’ll be doing my first deposition ever via Zoom in a month or two. Any tips? Resources to read? Videos to watch? (I’m a rising second year associate who got hired during the pandemic. I really want to impress my new bosses, so I’m going to put in tons of non-billable time prepping)", "post_id": "5f107791097c3800243a20e2", "reply_count": 21, "vote_count": 3, "bowl_id": "5da60c126e5f0d001f32f497", "bowl_name": "Women in Law" }

I’ll be doing my first deposition ever via Zoom in a month or two. Any tips? Resources to read? Videos to watch? (I’m a rising second year associate who got hired during the pandemic. I really want to impress my new bosses, so I’m going to put in tons of non-billable time prepping)

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At the beginning when I give my spiel on answering verbally, taking breaks, etc., I add that even though we’re in our homes, you are still taking an oath under penalty of perjury. This also means that you are not to have any communications outside of the deposition questioning, so no emails, texts, or other electronic communications. If you think your phone might district you, please put it in another room. Then I have them identify who is in their house and if they’re in another room. Also whether they have any documents in front of them and what they are.

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Amazing, thank you!!!

It depends on the area of law and the issues in your case, but I’ve always been told to jump around in your questions a bit, i.e., have them written down and organized by topic, but go from topic to topic to keep the deponent on their toes. If the deponent says something that’s great for your case, don’t linger and give them a chance to realize it—quickly move on to something unrelated.

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I would respectfully disagree. If you jump around and don’t exhaust a line of questioning you may forget to ask important questions later that you didn’t get to bc of jumping around. You definitely want to close a line of questioning before jumping to the next.... unless you want to impeach someone w/ a document later in the depo and want to set up the scenario by getting incongruous testimony earlier. My 2 cents. x

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I just had my first depo recently and it was via zoom too! I read Depositions in a Nutshell which you can get on amazon kindle. It has a lot of useful strategies on questioning and listening. I also recommend playing around with zoom a day before so you get how to use chat function for uploading exhibits and sharing screen.

helpful

Do yourself a favor and do a free CLE/tutorial with the court reporting company - email them & they’ll set you up. Also...have alcohol on standby - these are frustrating as someone always has some kind of technical difficulty

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Yes this! Some are offering a service where they pull up the exhibits as you ask from them. Just did one and OC agreed to split the cost. (You can also ask for private break out rooms so you and your co counsel can discuss something, or if you want to discuss something with OC outside of the presence of a third party witness etc.) Or you don’t want to hire them, maybe paralegal can upload the exhibits for you for your first one. This could take off a ton of stress if your dep is going to be exhibit heavy.

Make sure your documents are super organized and don’t use more than you need.

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Go slow. Take all the time you need.

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Before every deposition I write a list of key goals that I keep separate from my outline. I almost never end up following my script word for word because it’s just not natural and if you aren’t listening to the person’s answers then you might miss something. The separate list helps me to make sure that I don’t miss anything while not having to pour through my script. Also remember to look at the camera when asking a question. The “eye to eye” contact is important.

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Great point on the eye contact! Thank you!

In my experience, not very different than an in person depo though I also encourage you to familiarize yourself with the technology. As a new partner, I encourage you to bill all your time that is specific to this case and let the partners write it down if they deem appropriate.

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And I highly recommend NITA’s deposition course.

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Make sure all exhibits are emailed the night before so the Court Reporter has it. Also, confirm whether everyone will be remote or will the witness appear with his counsel.

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What if I don’t want to give them the option of appearing in person? We’re in a covid hotspot and many of my colleagues are old enough that I’d consider them high risk. I’d hate to catch covid during the deposition and spread it around my office. I come to work each day and lock myself in my office except for bathroom breaks, and I wear a mask at all times - I’m trying really hard to be extremely cautious

If you have lots of exhibits take time to be organized and easily labeled so you or whoever finds them for the witness can do so efficiently.

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Any advice on taking depositions as a young female attorney? I’m a bit worried the other attorney will try to intimidate me . . .

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Confidence is everything. Early in my career I was deposing a business owner defended by the managing partner of a fancy firm. A few questions in I asked the him to identify the documents he reviewed to prepare for the deposition. The MP lost his shit at me screaming about how that’s not allowed (wrong) and I should know better. I looked him right in the eye and said you may want to review the rules if you’re not familiar with them. I’m going to ask my question again and if you want to object we can call the judge. He didn’t object to anything else in that deposition. Point being, don’t give anyone an opportunity to steamroll you. If you show a bully a little weakness, they’ll continue to push. Good luck!

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Outline the questions you have ahead of your deposition. It'll help you stay on task and refocus when things derail (as they inevitably will)

Don't forget to listen. Have your outline of questions but don't get so focused on it that you don't listen to what the person is saying. Sometimes one answer will lead you down a path you didn't anticipate but that you need to explore.

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