“Put Your Phone Away:” 5 Tips For Defending Depositions

Well, we’ve had some fun. Coming off of Fetish Friday and last week’s ramblings on non-profits and law school, I figured maybe it was about time I wrote something that had some bearing on the actual practice of…you know…law. Something that lawyers may actually like to read, because that’s the reason I initially started this shitshow of a website, to give profane and profound opinions and advice on the practice of law.

So, today I’m talking to you baby lawyers out there, you assholes with more ego than experience who are about to start forming a whole fuckin’ steamer trunk of bad habits that you’ll carry with you through the rest of your practice. This Bud’s for you, guys, now loosen up those ties that you’re paying way too much for, unbutton the jacket of that suit your Daddy bought you when you passed the  Bar, and take a seat at Boozy’s feet to listen to me ramble about defending depositions.

Because, contrary to what a lot of fucking websites and lawyers will tell you, it is fucking important that you actually defend a deposition appropriately or risk looking like a goddamn moron.

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Waiving Privilege: A Discovery War Story

So yesterday was a snow day for me, which meant I got to sit at my kitchen table and review my case files over and over again, churning out the billables in the comfort of my home and a pair of fleece pajamas with fucking labs on them. It was pleasant. I enjoyed it.

As part of reviewing my case files, though, I also ended up reviewing some discovery production that was going out soon, an electronic copy of which I’d uploaded to a secured cloud server so I can be a redacting fool from anywhere in the world. Most lawyers hate going through discovery production to the opposing party, and I’ll admit it’s a pretty big pain in the ass. It takes forever and can suck away entire days. Hell, that’s why big firms hire doc reviewers and first year associates to sit around and do nothing but obsess over what’s in each and every document.

Me, however? I like to do it all myself when possible, because what you produce in discovery to an opposing party can seriously fuck your case up, and I’m the type of guy who, at the end of the day, believes the buck stops with me and nobody else. I learned this from my boss, who from day one has made it very clear that on each and every one of his cases, the buck stops with me and nobody else.

So let’s talk about that, how trusting your case to someone else can seriously fuck you over and why it may be worth your time to go through the documents your own goddamn self.

I’m gonna tell you fucktards a story to illustrate my point today, so gather round children.

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5 Lawyers You Meet In Depositions, Part 2: Blowhard, Rabbit, and the Wildcard

So we left off yesterday talking about the 5 Assholes…Lawyers…You Meet In Depositions.

First, let me be clear since some of you folks aren’t understanding the title, it’s a play on the title of a book by Mitch Albom.  I don’t expect you to get that, really, because Albom is an inspirational son of a bitch, and we live in a world of darkness and sorrow professionally.  Still, it’s a decent little read, so maybe pick it up if you want some flutter in your chest that’ll remind you what happiness used to feel like.

Now, I’ve got more depositions tomorrow, so let’s get this pounded out.

We covered the Obstructionist, and we covered the Buddy Guy.  That leaves us with three more lawyers you meet in depositions to wheeze our way through today:  the Blowhard, the Rabbit, and the Wildcard.  Let’s just jump right into the shit on this, okay?

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5 Lawyers You Meet In Depositions, Part 1: The Obstructionist and the Buddy Guy

Let’s talk for a second about the assholes you meet at depositions.

Alright, so you folks should know that over the past few days I’ve been involved in the most hell-ridden part of litigation, namely the process of deposing an opposing party and letting them depose my client.  Not only were these depositions, but these were the most soul-crushing of all depositions:  The trial deposition, where civility flies out the window and people start talking over one another so quickly that the record appears to be half-written sentences with multiple interruptions.

If you’re not familiar with the trial deposition, it’s used when the witness that you’re deposing, and in some cases the party that you’re deposing, won’t be available (or may not be available) at the time of trial.  Here, in Pennsylvania, we also use it in certain circumstances where there’s no such thing as an evidentiary hearing because of the nature of the action.  In these rare situations, the entire evidentiary record as it relates to that one witness is going to be in the deposition transcripts.  The whole nine yards is in play in the trial deposition: evidence authentication, objections, responses to objections, etc.  The court then picks over the deposition transcript and makes determinations as to admissibility, objections, etc. in its review.

If they sound like long, tedious affairs, they fucking are.

You know what makes them worse?  Fucking Lawyers.

But it got me thinking over the weekend, as we prepared for round 2, as to the types of lawyers you tend to run into at depositions.  Opposing counsel’s behavior wasn’t out of the ordinary.  It was just more pronounced and combative.  He was an Obstructionist.  He could have just as easily been a Buddy Guy, a Blowhard, a Rabbit, or a Wildcard.

Oh, you don’t know what any of that means?  Well, that’s cause I just made up the fucking labels.  It’s what I do.  But generally, those are the types of lawyers you’ll run into in a deposition…hey, can you guess what I’m about to do?  That’s right.

I’m about to spend two days talking about the 5 Lawyers You Meet In Depositions.

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