Although Press Millen is quick to remind readers that "litigation is not a game," he's written an entertaining article, "Poker's Lessons for Litigation," which originally appeared in the North Carolina Lawyers Weekly. The fifth lesson, "watch for the tell," contains this advice for deposition-takers:
Testimony, whether in court or in a deposition, can be a virtual laboratory of tells. By carefully listening to and watching a deponent, we can often tell when a witness is holding something back. By continuing to pick at the witness with further questions, I have often arrived at the point where the witness was finally forced to give me the complete story.
The trick, I might add, is knowing when the witness is holding something back. Two dead giveaways: when the witness either evades the question or seems to have a memory lapse about an important matter when other matters within the same timeframe are easily recalled.
Note: Thanks to my law firm's winter-break research assistant, law student Aaron Call, who found this article as well as some others I'll post about in the weeks ahead.