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Helping a New Attorney Learn to Conduct Successful Depositions

Deposition – Folder with labeling, gavel and libra – law, judgement, lawyer

Conducting a successful deposition is a skill that most lawyers spend their entire career honing. While no attorney will depose a witness perfectly on their inaugural effort first-chairing a deposition, there are several strategies that more senior attorneys can use to help newer associates learn how to conduct a deposition. Read on to learn more about teaching deposition skills to young lawyers, and contact experienced Arizona court reporters with any of your deposition-related needs. 

  1. Plan a mock deposition, and make it as realistic—and reviewable—as possible

Having your young attorney conduct a mock deposition is a must—and making the practice deposition as challenging as the real thing will only strengthen the young attorney’s skills further. There is no substitute for practicing these skills, especially in the context of a tough deposition. Another attorney can serve as the mock deponent, but you might consider hiring an actor to play the part. Consider hiring a videographer to record the mock deposition so that you can use the video to point out where the trainee was successful and where their skills could use improvement.

  1. Use videos from your own depositions to instruct

Another advantage of using a videographer to record your depositions is that the resulting video can become helpful in providing an example of how to implement useful strategies during a deposition. For example, if you or another attorney at your firm deposed a particularly evasive or mendacious witness, but the attorney nonetheless succeeded in eliciting valuable information from the deponent, being able to show a young attorney how that feat was accomplished will be far more useful than simply telling them.

  1. Share stories from both the successful and unsuccessful depositions you’ve conducted

Some of the most important lessons we learn are from the times that we weren’t as successful as we would’ve liked. As you think back on the depositions you’ve taken, try to remember the times a depo went off the rails and what you would do differently if you could go back and re-take it. Remembering these experiences can be very useful in helping guide you as you determine what skills you should teach your trainee.

If you need skilled and effective litigation support, videography, or court reporting services in Arizona, contact the Phoenix offices of Ottmar & Associates at 602-485-1488.