Deposition Preparation Short List

Here is a short list of items to cover with your client the next time you have a discovery deposition:

1. Listen and make sure you understand the question.

2. Stop for five seconds and think.

3. Answer the question.

4. Is there more than one answer that is correct?

5. If there is, then you do not understand the question.

6. If you don't know when to start and and end in terms of the time frame, you don't understand the question.

7. If you try to win your case, then you will lose your case. Don't try to win it. In other words, don't take a good case, try to make it a great case and turn it into a bad case.

8. You don't know, what you don't know. So don't guess or speculate.

9. Keep your hands in lap, hold a paper clip and press the paper clip if you get nervous. Don't fidget.

10. Depositions are not conversations. Listen to the question and answer what's being asked. Do not volunteer information.

11. Don't worry about looking stupid… Ask the other attorney to rephrase the question, if you don't understand the question.

12. Be wary of "box questions" that try to limit you by the words "never, always, none and ever". There are almost always exceptions.

Sometimes, less is more. Keep it simple.


About Richard A. Cook

Richard Cook graduated from Purdue University in the Economics Honor Program in 1979 and obtained his Juris Doctor degree from Valparaiso University School of Law in 1982. Following law school, Richard served as a federal law clerk in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division. In 1984, Richard began working as Deputy Prosecutor for the Lake County Prosecutor's Office and from there, served as Assistant U. S. Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division. There he handled a number of complex criminal matters and jury trials. While there, Richard received the Chief Postal Inspector's Special Award and a letter of commendation from the U.S. Attorney General for his work prosecuting a major money order fraud scheme being perpetrated out of the Indiana State Prison system. Since leaving the U.S. Attorney's office in 1989, Richard has focused primarily on civil work and is currently a member of the firm Yosha Cook & Tisch in Indianapolis. Richard is also a member of the ITLA, IBA and the ABA, as well as, a fellow for the American College of Trial Lawyers. He is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell.

Posted on May 7, 2013, in depositions. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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