October 01, 2016

Depositions Are Proving Grounds

Sawnie A. McEntire

Reprinted with permission from Sawnie A. McEntire, Mastering the Art of Depositions (2016), at 1-4. Copyright © 2016 by the American Bar Association. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any or portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association.


A basic goal of discovery is to avoid surprise and ambush at trial. Nevertheless, there is much more that can be accomplished in a discovery plan. The pre-trial stages of a case are a proving ground where the factual bases and equities of a party’s position are revealed and road-tested. As a key component of such a plan, deposition discovery is used to explore (and expose) the strengths and weaknesses of the witnesses and, equally important, opposing counsel. Knowledge is power; thus, knowledge about the opposition’s case, its witnesses, and the skills of opposing counsel are important variables when evaluating any case.

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