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Training Guide

Tips for Taking a Deposition


Training Guide

Tips for Taking a Deposition

Remote or in person

What’s Covered

  • Starting the deposition
  • Questioning the witness
  • Difficult witnesses
  • Difficult opposing counsel
  • Ending the deposition
  • Logistics involved in taking a deposition

Before the Session

Prepare the Attendees

Send the attendees an invitation for the session. Include this link, which has the videos and exercise they’ll need to prepare.

Prepare Yourself

Watch the videos and read the exercise so you’re familiar with the Hotshot material.

During the Session

Part 1: Knowledge Check

Ask attendees these questions to ensure they understand the topic:

  • What logistics do you need to take care of before taking a deposition?
  • What are some things you can do to get your deposition off to a good start?
  • What tone will you try to establish with the witness to start the deposition?
  • What should you be doing while the witness is giving an answer?
  • What would you do if one of your questions isn’t working?
  • How would you handle a witness that says “I don’t recall” a lot or claims not to understand basic terms?
  • How would you handle a witness that won’t admit anything?
  • What would you do with an aggressive opposing counsel?
  • What should you do when you think you’re done asking questions?

Part 2: Group Exercise

Lead a group discussion based on the exercise. To encourage collaboration, divide the attendees into groups to discuss the exercise, then have a representative from each group summarize their views to the larger group. Call on people to share their thoughts and ask others to respond.

Tip for remote sessions: use your web conferencing system’s breakout room feature to divide people into groups.

Part 3: War Stories and Firm Specifics

Share your own experiences and guidance, including:

  • Anecdotes and war stories (e.g., about a near-disaster or a tough negotiation)
  • General practice tips (dos and don’ts)
  • Firm-specific guidance and practices

After the Session

To continue their learning, attendees can check out related courses in Hotshot’s Depositions topic.

About Hotshot

Hotshot helps lawyers develop their legal, business, and technology skills through short videos, quizzes, and summaries, and we help law firms and law schools plan and deliver engaging training programs. Our customers include Am Law 200 firms, top law schools, and regional and international firms.

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