Like Winning? Then Get Better at Depositions

By George Khoury, Esq. on February 27, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Civil litigators know that asking a question during a trial that you don't know the answer to is a big risk, even when it's your own witness.

A civil trial is not the time to be exploring new testimony. Discovery's done. Trial is about presenting the evidence you discovered via interrogatories, document requests, and of course, during depositions.

The Key to Every Civil Case: Deposition

To win at trial, you need to present exact and specific evidence that addresses the elements of your legal arguments. To do that, you need to know the answers that every witness will provide to the questions you ask. Also, you need to be able to show the court that when you don't get the answer you expected, it's because the witness made an inconsistent statement. That means you need to be ready, at a deposition, to ask pretty much every question you're going to ask a witness at trial.

If you haven't asked the right questions at deposition, you're risking not getting the right testimony at trial. Plain and simple. But, if you have asked the right questions at deposition, your adversaries will be able to evaluate their probability of losing better, and you might not have to go to trial at all. But mastering the deposition isn't going to happen via wishful thinking, it takes training. And fortunately for California litigators, The Rutter Group has an upcoming deposition training for both new and experienced attorneys. (Disclosure: The Rutter Group is FindLaw's sister company.)

Who? What? When? Where? How (Much)?

The Rutter Group's upcoming continuing legal education program, The Art of the Deposition: Mastering Questioning and Listening Techniques, will teach and help you to refine your core skills on how to prepare for and conduct depositions, and more. At the CLE, you'll learn how to use the same tactics that investigative reporters use to elicit specific information, as well as how to use active listening to develop your line of questioning.

Attorney Michael D. Stein will be presenting The Rutter Group program in Los Angeles/Universal City on March 20 and in San Francisco on March 7, 2018. The evening seminar starts at 6:00 pm, and provides attendees with 2.5 general CLE credits and 0.5 ethics credits. The cost is only $160. And as a bonus for registering, attendees can purchase select, related The Rutter Group titles at steep discounts.

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