It’s interesting that our law school evidence classes teach us the mechanics of the rules of evidence, however, (if my memory serves) we’re not given much guidance on how to decide whether, assuming a question is objectionable, it is a good idea to object during trial. It is true that the rules of evidence have application outside the context of a jury trial, and in fact it can be years before a lawyer actually has to make the decision whether to raise an objection at trial. But the question whether it makes strategic sense to object in the presence of the jury merits some analysis.
I consulted Professor McElhaney and, as expected, he had wisdom to impart. In Litigation, he articulates rules for when to object. I’ll list the first five here.
In this series of posts, I'll dig into the archives of The Trial Practice Tips Weblog and highlight some of my prior posts about depositions. Although you can see all of these post in this weblog's deposition category, I thought I'd try to reorganize some of them in a new way.
I'll begin with the first five ways a lawyer can ruin a deposition. I've been guilty of all of them at one time or another.
Your preparation for depositions will generally be much easier if you think about the ways the testimony will be used at trial. This tip applies to most pretrial discovery: it's almost never an end in itself, but something that will be used later in front of a jury. It's no accident that the ins-and-outs of pretrial discovery often make more sense after a lawyer has witnessed some actual trials. When trials are scarce, even reading trial transcripts helps.
Here's information about the book from the James Publishing website--
Creating an outline is the most efficient way of formalizing your preparation for a deposition.
Use the outlines and pattern questions in Deposition Checklists & Strategies to avoid omissions, improve your advocacy, and handle unfamiliar areas with confidence.
Underlying law. Each chapter begins with a summary of the substantive law at issue. Also included is an analysis of common defenses.
Deposition outlines. Each chapter contains several full-length deposition Q&A sections organized by issue, based on common fact patterns, and directed at specialized deponents like experts, corporate representatives, and treating physicians. The book’s questions are easy to mix and match with your own.
Commentary. Thorny or common issues are annotated with practice-proven alternatives and solutions.
Bonus outlines. Thumbnail checklists that contain themes and issues rather than question-and answer dialogue are provided for less-common deponents.
Related discovery forms. Complaints, interrogatories, requests for admissions, requests to produce, and more finish each chapter.
Practice tips. Sprinkled through each pattern deposition is practical advice learned from hundreds of depositions.
The book also contains pages of strategies for expert depositions, illustrated by outlines in a variety of types of cases.
If you're interested in honing your deposition skills, please take a look at my book--and thanks!