Legal Resources on How to Take a Deposition or Improve your Effectiveness in Deposition

Depositions play an important part of many lawyers practices.  Whether you practice in the area of business litigation, domestic relations, personal injury, construction defect, environmental law, intellectual property litigation, or another area of law, knowing how to take a great deposition is often necessary. Surprisingly, many law schools do not teach these fundamental skills that you may need shortly after graduation and throughout your career.  As is often the case, lawyers learn the practical legal skills they need in practice, from Trial Guides.

If you are a law student or young lawyer, you need to learn the fundamentals first in terms of how depositions work, how you set the depositions up correctly, when you need to provide notice, problems with providing notice late, strategy on video depositions and perpetuation depositions, and more before you move on to more advanced topics.

Once lawyers gain experience and understand the fundamentals of deposition, many fall into complacency in terms of deposition skills. Depositions can become uninspiring uses of your time unless you realize their potential power to secure victory. For those seeking to obtain the best outcomes in their cases, there are methods that can be used to limit your opponent’s case and obtain case winning testimony in deposition.

Here are the Top 10 list of products we suggest if you want to succeed in becoming great at depositions:

Top 10 Deposition Resources for Lawyers

The list below focuses on specific skills, knowledge and methods that will help you take a deposition or improve your effectiveness in deposition. If you have already conducted many depositions, Trial Guides has great products for experienced lawyers who want to substantially improve what they can get out of adverse parties during depositions. To see all products sold by Trial Guides that relate to deposition, please click the button at the bottom of the page.

Recommended Resources

The Deposition Handbook

The Deposition Handbook

This is the definitive text on taking and defending depositions, now in a revised fifth edition. The Deposition Handbook provides guidance to every lawyer, from those with no experience to those with a high level of proficiency. This is why the book is required reading for associates at some of America’s largest law firms. Written by two members of the American Board of Trial Advocates, this book covers a wide range of fields and topics, making it the deposition text on this list with the widest applicability outside the field of personal injury litigation. The book applies well to those in business litigation, family law, intellectual property litigation, insurance coverage litigation, construction defect, securities litigation, employment law, and more. The Deposition Handbook provides specific techniques for eliciting information, guidelines for video depositions, case studies, checklists, numerous examples, rules of conduct, questioning techniques, client deposition preparation, and sample questions.

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Advanced Depositions Strategy and Practice

Advanced Depositions Strategy and Practice

This is Trial Guides’ best-selling deposition product. This book is the basis for the American Association for Justice’s Advanced Deposition College. This book is primarily aimed at motor vehicle cases, medical malpractice, premises liability, product defect, and other types of personal injury cases as well as related issues like insurance bad faith.
This book’s premise is that a successful deposition is the direct result of thoughtful planning and preparation. In Advanced Depositions Strategy and Practice, Phillip Miller and Paul Scoptur reveal proven tactics for how to elicit the information you need to support your case theory and craft a cohesive, convincing trial theme. The authors come at this having a history as lawyers, trial strategists and running hundreds of focus groups. The authors provide techniques for a focused case analysis, and show you how to effectively navigate through the obstacles you will encounter during depositions. In addition to strategy, this book provides a wealth of specific examples from real case depositions, as well as methods to handle evasive, hostile, uncooperative, and opposing expert witnesses.

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30(b)(6)

30(b)(6)

Deposing Corporations, Organizations & the Government

This is the definitive treatise on taking 30(b)(6) depositions. If you notice and depose 30(b)(6) deponents, you need this book.

Any time you file litigation against a corporation, organization or governmental entity, you are often taking on a massive entity with far more money and lawyers than your office. This book teaches you the incredible power available in these cases using FRCP 30(b)(6) and the associated state laws governing corporate and organization depositions. The book takes you step by step through how to designate the areas of inquiry for the designee deposition and forcing the opposing party to appoint one or more people to answer on behalf of the organization with all information known to that corporation, organization or entity. It also teaches you how to notice an affiliated non-party for depositions in your insurance claims. Using the knowledge from this book, you will no longer let designated deponents get away with evasive answers like “I don’t know,” because the organization is required to give that designee all knowledge pertaining to the topics you list in your notice. Gone are the days of “the person most knowledgeable,” and evasive answers, because a denial of knowledge by the deponent is a denial of knowledge by the corporation or entity itself. The book goes beyond just the oral deposition, and includes tips on document depositions when defense counsel has refused to provide discovery through requests for production or interrogatories. The book is also filled with state and federal case law on 30(b)(6) depositions that can be used in your motions to compel, and motions for sanctions when the opposing party engages in discovery abuses. This book is critical for every lawyer handling any type of case against a corporation, organization or governmental entity, and has transformed thousands of lawyers’ discovery practices.

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Deposition Techniques

Deposition Techniques

Strategies, Tactics, and Skills

This DVD set is aimed primarily at fields of law such as business litigation, intellectual property litigation, family law, entertainment law, insurance coverage, and other areas of law. The speaker on this DVD set is David Markowitz, a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers who is considered one of the best business litigators in the country. For over twenty years, Markowitz has been studying deposition and trial techniques and has presented dozens of seminars to improve the deposition skills of practicing attorneys. In this lecture, Markowitz shares important goals to accomplish in depositions. You will learn the value of question structure and how to deal with evasive and incomplete answers. This video will also cover the most important questions and techniques the best lawyers use, plus a key component of any deposition: knowing when to stop asking questions.
Markowitz demonstrates powerful and practical methods for getting the most out of your depositions, including the best ways to defend depositions and effectively use depositions at trial. Whether you are new to trial practice or want to refresh your deposition skills, this presentation provides great insights.

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Cross Examination: Science and Techniques, 3rd Ed.

Successful performance in deposition usually requires strong cross examination skills. Cross Examination: Science and Techniquesby Pozner & Dodd has long been the leading text on cross examination.  Exhaustive in its coverage at 744 pages, it addresses every area and nuance of cross examination.  This book is applicable to lawyers in the fields of business litigation, intellectual property litigation, family law, personal injury, criminal law, and other areas of law.

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The Fearless Cross-Examiner

The Fearless Cross-Examiner

Win the Witness, Win the Case

Patrick Malone, co-author of Rules of the Road, provides important new insights on cross examination, primarily aimed at personal injury cases. Included in this book is a discussion about why Irving Younger’s “10 Commandments of Cross Examination” are outdated, and how you should reconsider how to do cross examination in trial presently. This book contains contributions and cross examination excerpts from several lawyers in the Inner Circle of Advocates, demonstrating successful ways to cross both experts and lay witnesses.

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Dynamic Cross-Examination

Dynamic Cross-Examination

A Whole New Way to Create Opportunities to Win

This book was brought to us by trial great Rick Friedman, who let us know this was the method of cross examination he had been using for twenty years. Written by Jim McComas, one of the best criminal defense lawyers in the United States, this book takes a very different approach to cross examination. Imagine a cross-examination technique that can consistently destroy a witness's credibility, elicit surprising answers, and create the powerful moments that win hard cases. McComas casts aside the old notions of not asking questions that you don’t know the answer to, and not taking on the expert on their own turf. Instead, McComas teaches you how diligent preparation prepares you to get exceptional outcomes in your case. This book is aimed at addressing both criminal defense and civil cases.

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Exposing Deceptive Defense Doctors

Usually, the most challenging depositions in a personal injury case, are those of the defense doctors. Author Dorothy Clay Sims is known amongst the national plaintiff bar as the go-to lawyer for dismantling defense doctors’ unsubstantiated opinions. Her book deals with ways to research the adverse witness, prepare for their deposition and then how to dismantle their testimony. The book will enable you to reveal dishonesty, bias, over-reaching, and incompetence by defense doctors in multiple specialties.

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Trial Tactics

Trial Tactics

This video set features Rick Friedman and Roger Dodd discussing every part of a trial from beginning to end. The important part for depositions is that you get a discussion between Dodd (author of Cross Examination: Science and Techniques) and Rick Friedman (co-author of Rules of the Road) discussing things about cross ranging from whether you should favor constructive cross or destructive cross, how Friedman’s use of the Dynamic Cross method contrasts with the Pozner & Dodd methods, and how Friedman recommends you use depositions and cross in your use of Rules of the Road in a case. There is a wealth of practical information available on this video set.

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Preparing for Depositions

Preparing for Depositions

This DVD is not for lawyers, but assists lawyers in preparing their injured clients for personal injury litigation depositions and trial testimony. In Preparing for Depositions, attorney Karen Koehler, instructs your client and witnesses on how to testify truthfully and successfully. Through easy-to-understand "Do" and "Don't" scenarios, Koehler guides your witness out of the pitfalls of messy and potentially devastating testimony. The DVD is broken down into ten short, essential rules of testimony that all of your witnesses need to know. Preparing for Depositions is something you can use in every litigation case to minimize your deposition and testimony preparation time. (* Please note, Trial Guides suggests that while this video will reduce a lawyer's preparation time for each witness, and lead to better prepared witnesses, it should not take the place of a specific discussion between the lawyer and each witness on the facts of the case.

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