Part one of this article, published in the Summer 2011 issue of Mass Torts Litigation, discussed how best to prepare for a deposition. Part two focuses on conducting the deposition.
Conducting the Deposition
After the witness is sworn in, but before the deposition actually begins, discuss any stipulations with opposing counsel and reach any necessary agreements. More often than not, attorneys make only passing reference to the “usual” stipulations and agreements. Taking a minute or two to firmly establish them for the record can save you a great deal of grief later and make for a smoother deposition. For example, what types of objections are permitted by the governing rules? What actually constitutes an “objection to form”? Take the opportunity to establish that an objection remains proper if made reasonably soon after the witness answers. This discourages unnecessary interruption, allowing the court reporter to fully capture each statement for the record. What rule governs the authentication of documents? Any agreements made need not be limited solely to the current deposition, either. If you have a series of depositions to conduct, establish that all will be conducted in keeping with the same stipulations and agreements.