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July 01, 2010

Discovery: Who to depose--and how to get ready.

It’s supposed to be hard. That’s what makes baseball great.

--Tom Hanks, or someone, in a movie.

Even when things go well, litigation is expensive and disruptive in unexpected ways. Seasoned GCs are not impressed that your client has a "good" or even "strong" case on law and facts. They are not likely to think your claim or defense is cool. Frankly, he, or she, wanted, "no case". Nothing personal--but the client didn't really want to hire you--or anyone.

So sorry. The client is not that happy for you.

So how do you make each of the first few depositions a fact-finding and case-building but highly efficient triumph? Success. But success also meaning not "feeding the monster".

Even for "minimalists", intelligent discovery in a complex business case is hard, especially in its early stages, where you may be working a bit in the dark in the first few depositions. You need planning--which trial lawyers do not always love--and not just great instincts. Planning way early and in advance of actual trial is distasteful and downright nerdy to many of us. Like reading the directions, or inspecting a rental car.

For that reason--or quirk--we have always liked this two-part article by Chicago's Stewart Weltman when it came out two years ago: "Deciding Who To Depose", Part I and Part II. And for early case discovery, see this short WAC? piece: "Informal discovery: save time, save money, get better results".


Hey. Wait a second. Do we even need to take this deposition?

Posted by JD Hull at July 1, 2010 12:59 AM


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