December 07, 2010
Depositions: Who, if anyone, to depose--and how to get ready.
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.
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".
Wait a second. Do we even need to take this deposition?
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".
Posted by JD Hull at December 7, 2010 12:59 AM