Tips & Tactics
How to Use Depositions ...
Three things to remember before you use depositions to get evidence into the record.
The typical foolish lawyer doesn't prepare, doesn't carefully time, and often forgets to file transcripts of the depositions he takes.
Result: Failure that usually is not explained to his clients! So, we have more lawyer jokes and more people being destroyed by the ineptitude of lawyers and the people's own lack of knowledge that would have empowered them to control their lawyers!
Using depositions properly is just common sense!
If you have a lawyer or if you're going on your own pro se, don't make the mistake made by typical foolish lawyers who ultimately are not much affected when they lose lawsuits. Learn these three points for success using depositions.
Preparation: The first questions you need to answer are:
Many people don't know what facts they need to prove their case! I've seen lawyers ask witnesses at depositions about grandma's fudge recipe or what elementary school they attended. Things of no consequence whatever to the outcome of the case. Of course, they bill their clients for all the extra time, but it doesn't win lawsuits. You need to know before the deposition what facts you need to prove your case. After all, that's the reason we take depositions, isn't it?
Next, you need to know as much about the witness as possible before the deposition, so you know what the witness knows. If all the witness knows is what he or she learned from someone else, then everything they say at a deposition will be excluded from the court's record as inadmissable hearsay!
Finally, you need to bring to the deposition everything you want to present to the witness when questioning. Examples are previous answers to interrogatories, documents obtained by subpoena, certified copies of official papers, and such like products of your discovery efforts. It is far more effective to question witnesses about papers and things you have marked for identification at the deposition and hand to the witness while asking, "Is that your signature at the bottom?" or, "Why are these numbers whited-out and written over?" Not bringing papers and other things to a deposition makes no sense.
Timing: When it comes to timing depositions, the first rule is to take depositions as soon as practicable. The second rule is not to take depositions until you have done the preparation. Know what the witnesses know. Obtain the documents and things you'll be asking questions about. Then, schedule your depositions as soon as possible. People die. People leave town. People are bribed or threatened by other people to tell another story. Strike while the iron is hot, as my grandpa used to say!
Filing Transcripts: If you never get around to filing transcripts of your depositions, they never get into the court's record. And, if they never get into the court's record, you cannot use them to win! 'Nuff said?
We hope these weekly Tips & Tactics are helpful to you. We get a tremendous number of emails from people thanking us for them, and many of you have purchased our complete course to learn more. We just want to tell you how much we appreciate being able to share this knowledge and hope you'll tell everyone about our course so we can get the word out more quickly and save some of you from being destroyed by the typical courtroom corruption that is the source of lawyer jokes. When you and a few million more know what it takes to control lawyers and the court we will have a much better world.
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