The Deposition Handbook

Dennis R. Suplee & Nicole Reimann
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Widely regarded as the definitive text on taking and defending depositions, the Deposition Handbook provides practical advice on every stage of deposition. In this revised Fifth Edition, Dennis Suplee and Nicole Reimann provide specific techniques for eliciting information, guidelines for video depositions, case studies, checklists, numerous examples, rules of conduct, and sample questions. This user-friendly and comprehensive guide offers expert analysis on the strategies and tactics you need to successfully handle your depositions.

You’ll get specific examples and scenarios covering:

  • Whether counsel may interview an adverse party's current or former employees
  • Private conferences between the deponent and counsel during the course of the deposition
  • The pros and cons of “the usual stipulations”
  • Questioning techniques
  • How to effectively prepare your clients and witnesses to effectively testify
  • What factors to consider when deciding whether to prepare the witness to do more than just answer the question

Written from a litigator's perspective, this text delivers insights into how you can obtain case winning answers from your deponents.

This book should be required reading for every young lawyer, and is a great resource for even the most experienced of litigators. If you are looking for a comprehensive desk reference for your office, this book is a treasure of information.

  1. About the Authors
  2. Publisher’s Note
  3. Preface to Fifth Edition
  4. Acknowledgments
  5. Depositions: Disadvantages, Advantages, and Alternatives
    1. Introduction
    2. Disadvantages of Depositions
    3. Advantages of Depositions
    4. Alternatives to Depositions
    5. Recorded Conversations
    6. Availability of Deposition Discovery
  6. Interviewing Witnesses
    1. Introduction
    2. In-Person and Telephone Interviews
    3. Interviewing Your Client’s Former Employees
    4. Interviewing an Adverse Party’s Current or Former Employees
    5. Interviewing of Personal Injury Plaintiff’s Treating Physician
  7. Role of Depositions in the Discovery Plan
    1. Introduction
    2. Consulting the Client
    3. Limitations on Discovery
    4. Timing of Depositions
    5. Order of Deponents
    6. Depositions of Opposing Counsel
    7. Depositions of Arbitrators
    8. Depositions of Judges
  8. Scheduling the Deposition and Choosing the Mode
    1. Deposition Notice
    2. Deposition Subpoena
    3. Location
    4. Foreign Countries or Proceedings
    5. Recording the Deposition
    6. Telephone and Videoconference Depositions
    7. Last-Minute Details
  9. Preparing for the Deposition
    1. Introduction
    2. Common Sense Considerations
    3. Preparing for the Deposition
  10. The Rule 30(b)(6) Deposition
    1. Rule 30(b)(6) Notice
    2. Duty to Designate a Knowledgeable Witness
    3. Duty to Prepare Witness
    4. Binding the Organization
    5. Questioning Outside the Scope of the Notice
    6. Invoking the Privilege against Self-Incrimination
    7. Ten-Deposition and One-Day Limits
  11. Objectives
    1. Discovery or Admissions
    2. Other Objectives
  12. Deposition Dynamics: Dealing with the Other Side
    1. Introduction
    2. Pre-Deposition Jousting: Setting the Tone
    3. Who’s in Charge?
    4. Losing through Intimidation
    5. Refusing to Rise to the Bait
    6. Controlling the Deponent
    7. Staying On or Going Off the Record
  13. Strategy and Tactics
    1. Contrasts between Personal Injury and Commercial Litigation
    2. Approaches
    3. Committing the Deponent to Noncontroversial Propositions
    4. Establishing a Premise to Shape the Next Answer
    5. Wording the Question Aggressively
    6. Stating the Deponent’s Position Baldly
    7. Jumping from the Specific to the General
    8. Posing the Either-Answer Question
    9. Establishing the Obvious
    10. Inviting the Deponent to Speak
    11. Stepping into the Deponent’s Shoes
    12. Exhausting the Deponent’s Knowledge
    13. Getting the Most Out of a Good Answer
    14. Delving into the Deponent’s Preparation
  14. Beginning the Deposition
    1. Introduction
    2. Who Sits Where
    3. The Oath
    4. Who May Attend
    5. “The Usual Stipulations”
    6. The Interrogator’s Preliminary Instructions to the Deponent
  15. Conducting the Deposition
    1. Visualizing the Transcript
    2. Private Conferences between the Deponent and Counsel during the Course of the Deposition
    3. Renewing Instructions to the Deponent and Inviting Corrections
    4. Recapitulating Contradictory and Disjointed Testimony
    5. The Deponent Who Knows Too Little
    6. The Deponent Who Says Too Much
    7. The Deponent Who Evades the Question
    8. The Deponent Who Fights the Interrogator’s Objective
    9. The Lawyer Who Says Too Much
    10. The Deponent Who Has Language Problems
    11. The Deponent Who Needs Time to Make Calculations or Consult Documents
    12. Obtaining Estimates
    13. Going Off the Record
    14. Starting and Ending Times and Breaks
    15. Counsel’s Reactions to Answers
    16. Computer-Assisted Depositions
  16. Exhibits, Documents, and Drawings
    1. Introduction
    2. Disclosure Obligation
    3. Mechanics
    4. Questioning with an Objective
    5. Objective: Authentication
    6. Objective: Business Record
    7. Objective: Discovery
    8. Objective: Admissions or Impeachment
    9. Work Copy
    10. Producing a More Effective Transcript
    11. The Deponent’s Drawing or Diagram
    12. Moving into Evidence
    13. Following Up
  17. Objections and Instructions Not to Answer
    1. Objections
    2. Instructions Not to Answer
    3. 1Obtaining Rulings on Instructions Not to Answer
  18. Winding Up the Deposition
    1. Follow-up Questioning of the Witness
    2. Recessing or Concluding
    3. Summarizing the Testimony
    4. The Transcript
    5. Immunity for Statements Made in a Deposition Testimony
    6. The Deponent’s Immunity from Service of Process
    7. Recovering Deposition Costs
  19. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Applicable to Depositions
    1. Introduction
    2. Rule 5(d)(1)
    3. Rule 26(d), (f)
    4. Rule 26(a)(1)
    5. Rule 26(a)(2)
    6. Rule 26(b)(4)
    7. Rule 26(b)(1)
    8. Rule 26(b)(5)
    9. Rule 30(a)(2)
    10. Rule 30(b)(3)
    11. Rule 30(b)(6)
    12. Rule 30(c)(2)
    13. Rule 30(d)(1)
    14. Rule 30(e)
  20. Video Depositions
    1. Introduction
    2. Why Video-Record the Helpful Witness?
    3. Procedural Requirements
    4. Overriding Considerations
    5. The Deponent’s Appearance
    6. The Setting and Background
    7. The Videographer
    8. Props
    9. Starting the Deposition
    10. Moving Quickly
    11. Overcoming Boredom
    12. Monitoring the Action
    13. Cross-Examination
    14. Redirect Examination
    15. Concluding the Deposition
    16. Editing
    17. Why Video-Record the Adversary Witness?
    18. Video-Recording the Adversary Witness: Special Considerations
    19. Reenactments
    20. Preparing the Witness for a Video Deposition
    21. Defending the Witness at a Video Deposition
    22. Use in Motions
    23. Use at Trial: Preliminaries
  21. Depositions of Experts
    1. Introduction
    2. Who Is an Expert?
    3. Can the Expert Be Deposed?
    4. Should the Expert Be Deposed?
    5. Special Rules Applicable to Expert Depositions
    6. Fees
    7. Preparing for the Deposition
    8. The Expert’s File
    9. Topics to Be Covered
    10. Order of Topics
    11. The Expert’s Qualifications
    12. The Expert’s Interest, Bias, and Status as a Professional Witness
    13. Frye/Daubert Issues: Probing and Testing the Reliability and Admissibility of the Expert’s Opinion
    14. Obtaining Admissions as to the Authoritativeness of Learned Texts
    15. The Expert’s Work on the Case
    16. Preparation of the Expert Report
    17. Understanding the Expert’s Views
    18. Asking Open-Ended Questions
    19. Questioning Beyond the Expert Report
    20. Reading Back the Perfect Question
  22. Preparing the Deponent to Testify
    1. Introduction
    2. he Attorney–Client Privilege
    3. Gathering Facts verus Preparing Witnesses
    4. Preparation for Fact Gathering
    5. Fact-Gathering Session
    6. Preliminary Deposition Information
    7. Review of the Contentions and Key Facts in Dispute
    8. Review of the Documents
    9. Refreshing the Deponent’s Recollection
    10. The Deponent’s Efforts to Refresh Recollection
    11. Fact Reconstruction
    12. Ethical Constraints
    13. Witness Preparation
    14. Rules of Thumb for Testifying
    15. Putting the Deponent “on the Stand”
    16. Preparing the Deponent to Answer Aggressively
    17. Preparing the Deponent on Documents
    18. Using Videos to Prepare the Deponent
    19. When to Meet the Deponent
    20. “Frisking” the Deponent
    21. Taking the Offensive Generally
  23. Defending the Deponent at the Deposition
    1. Recapitulation
    2. The Defending Lawyer as a Presence
    3. No-Lose Opportunities for Asserting Control
    4. Hurrying the Interrogator
    5. Note Taking
    6. Payments to the Deponent for Preparation and Testimony
  24. Using Deposition Transcripts
    1. Introduction
    2. What Rules Apply at Trial?
    3. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 32
    4. Federal Rules of Evidence
    5. Depositions in Opening Statements and Closing Speeches
    6. Depositions to Impeach
    7. Depositions as Substantive Evidence
    8. Depositions to Support Motions
    9. Depositions Used to Trigger Removal Period
  25. Sanctions for Deposition Abuses
    1. Introduction
    2. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
    3. Statutes
    4. Inherent Judicial Power
    5. Special Considerations for Attorney Misconduct
    6. Sexism
    7. Making the Record for Sanctions
    8. Preparing the Motion for Sanctions
    9. Ethics in Deposition Practice
    10. Ethical Duties and Obligations
    11. Ethics and Civility
    12. Federal Court of Appeals’ Recommendations on Deposition Conduct
    13. Bar Associations’ and Courts’ Guidelines on Civility
    14. A Final Word on Civility
  26. Appendix A Witness Preparation Script: Basic Rules
  27. Appendix B Preparing a Witness for a Video Deposition
  28. Appendix C Checklist: Before the Deposition
  29. Appendix D Anatomy of a Document
  30. Appendix E Anatomy of an Expert Report
  31. Appendix F Notice of Deposition
  32. Appendix G Subpoena in a Civil Case
  33. Appendix H Rule 30(b)(6) Notice
  34. Appendix I Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Applicable to Depositions
  35. Appendix J Federal Rules of Evidence Applicable to Depositions
  36. Appendix K ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct Applicable to Depositions
  37. Appendix L Special Supplement: Proving Medical Negligence Cases through the Defendant Doctor’s Deposition
  38. Appendix M Form Letter for Defense Counsel to Send to Doctor Defendant in Medical Malpractice Case
  39. Appendix N Humor in Deposition Practice
  40. Index

Additional Information


Publisher Trial Guides, LLC
Paperback 772 pages; Revised 5th edition (2015); ISBN: 978-1941007303
  1. There is only one Best Deposition Book in America and this is it. It contains hundreds of practical tips for improving skills for taking and defending depositions, and it discusses the important rules and case law that govern deposition practice. Buy this book: Read this book: Use this book.
    —David Markowitz, Trial Lawyer and Trial Guides Author
  2. The premier guide to deposition practice, bar none. —Greg Joseph, past president of the American College of Trial Lawyers, past chair of the ABA Section of Litigation, and a nationally recognized expert on practice and procedure
  3. This is the book I wish I had written. It is filled with wisdom, practical advice and common sense. And, most rare for a legal text, it is a pleasure to read. It belongs on every litigator’s bookshelf, to be consulted frequently.
    —Bob Weber, former general counsel for IBM and litigator at Jones Day
  4. An extremely useful handbook, replete with hundreds of real-world examples, illustrating questioning techniques designed to achieve your deposition objectives, plus sound advice on the daunting task of preparing the witness to testify. —Joan Lukey, fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, and the American College of Trial Lawyers
  5. The Deposition Handbook is now the most sought-after volume in our NY office. The associates refer to it as the “deposition bible” and routinely borrow it. We have office-wide emails asking, “Who has the deposition bible?” —Steve M. Shepard, partner at Susman Godfrey, former law clerk to the Honorable Anthony M. Kennedy on the Supreme Court of the United States

1 review for The Deposition Handbook

  1. Rated 4 out of 5

    Bryan Hutchinson

    Excellent book! A must read book if you want to improve your deposition skills.

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