Saturday, December 8, 2007

Setting Depositions - All At Once

When tackling your next case consider setting all your depositions at once. When you first sit down with the case, decide what depositions you need to take, in what order you want to take them and coordinate all of them with opposing counsel in a single phone call. Do not wait to take a deposition before setting the next one, and do not wait on taking the next one before setting the one after that. Instead, schedule all your depositions as soon as you know who the witnesses are. Set them out far enough so you have time to receive responses to your written discovery and procure third party records. Spread them out enough so you have enough time after finishing each to prepare for the next one. This way, once the depositions start, you will have them all lined up, in the order you want, on the date and time and at the location you want.

You can see there are several benefits of setting your depositions in this manner:

You set the agenda. By coordinating the depositions, you set the agenda and drive the case on your terms.

Motions for continuance become obsolete. If you schedule all your depositions at the beginning of the case, even if they are set months later, the odds are you will be able to conduct your discovery on a timely basis and avoid seeking leave for a continuance of the trial date.

Unavailability becomes a thing of the past. How often do you hear that opposing counsel’s first date of availability is weeks, sometimes, months away? By setting the depositions at the beginning of the case, opposing counsel’s tight schedule should not create problems in timely completing discovery.

Shows you mean business. By taking charge, you show the other side you are committed to litigating a case and trying it if necessary.

Problems can be dealt with early. What about the witness you cannot find? What about the witness who is in poor health? These issues are easier to deal with if you are not staring at discovery deadlines.

More likely to preserve important testimony. The longer you wait, the greater the risk you run of not capturing important witness testimony. Memories fade. Witnesses move away. They get sick. Sometimes they die. By scheduling your depositions as soon as possible, you preserve favorable testimony.

Setting all your depositions at once is not appropriate for every case. First, your client may not want to incur the expense. Second, you may not want to telegraph to the other side all the witnesses you think are important. However, it is an approach worth considering.

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