From Medical Economics magazine: "Malpractice: How to Survive a Deposition," by Berkely Rice--
The deposition is a standard part of the "discovery" process that enables both attorneys to quiz their opponent's clients and witnesses. While depositions may seem less threatening than a trial, doctors who aren't prepared tend to let down their guard and reveal incriminating details that provide ammunition for the other side.
I first saw this article linked on Overlawyered, where it was used to demonstrate "how little the [deposition] process has to do with truth-seeking," a proposition I can't agree with. Even so, the article is well-written, and has a number of uses, for example:
- To prepare a doctor in a malpractice case for his deposition testimony;
- To prepare to depose a doctor in a malpractice case; or,
- To prepare any professional for a deposition.
Admittedly, the article is a little over-the-top in implying that the "sneaky" questioning techniques that are profiled apply only to plaintiffs' lawyers; they apply equally to defense lawyers. If you can get past the rhetoric, however, the article has still another use. In preparing to take depositions, both plaintiffs' lawyers and defense lawyers are well-advised to consider the deposition process from the witness's point of view: how the witness has been told to prepare, what the witness is expecting of you, the ways the witness might be hoping to avoid giving direct answers to your questions, and so on. Articles like this one can provide an opportunity to answer these questions as you prepare for a deposition, which will make you more effective.