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E. King Poor quoted in article “5 Tips For A Disaster-Free Deposition”

Law360

Witnesses shouldn’t use depositions to try to win a case single-handedly, the thinking goes, but a gotcha moment caught on camera can thwart even the best-laid trial strategy. Successfully defending a deposition requires coaching clients to keep a level head, to stick to what they know and to admit wrongdoing if they have to, attorneys say.

While many witnesses are either so worried about sinking a litigation that they evade questions like the plague or so eager to defend themselves that they overreach, the best deponents recognize that their role is to speak only to facts that they have personal knowledge of.

To get deponents in the right mindset and steer them clear of trouble, veteran lawyers have usually honed a set of principles to drill into every prospective witness.

“But I would submit that if you’ve defended two depositions or 200 depositions, those general principles should never be viewed as a checklist, a thing you have to go over in a routine way to get the witness ready,” said E. King Poor of Quarles & Brady LLP. “Good preparation requires taking the time to understand the uniqueness of the person being deposed and the uniqueness of the case.”

Originally published in Law360, April 29, 2014

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