April 01, 2013

Young Lawyer: Second Chairs Are Coaches, Not Bench Warmers

Amy Jane Longo

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Second-chairing a deposition doesn’t mean sitting on the sidelines, watching a teammate grab all the glory. Instead, much like a coach training the team for a game, your role as second chair is to make sure everyone is properly prepared for the competition and has everything needed to succeed. Especially when the opponent pulls an unexpected move, the second chair needs to be ready to huddle with the team and outline the next plays on the clipboard.

The second chair’s work starts with solid pregame preparation. When defending depositions, this means gathering information based on key themes to make the case, avoiding surprises, and practicing testimonial-quality answers. When taking depositions, this means building the arsenal for questioning the witness. After all, the more practice on the field, the better any team does come game time.

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