Deposition preparation is something that great litigators and their support staff take very seriously. Successfully preparing for a deposition leads to more favorable trial outcomes and a much less stressful day. Some of the ways great litigators prepare for a deposition:
- Researching opposing counsel, common tendencies, and most likely tactics during deposition
- Researching the witness, his/her background, strengths and weaknesses
- Reviewing the appropriate relationships between the witness, the facts of the case, and other parties
Tactical Level Preparation
Once this high-level deposition preparation has been completed, the litigator then digs down into the weeds and begins planning tactics. This includes:
- Developing question outlines
- Document management
- Pulling relevant documents
- Sorting documents based on order of questioning
- Annotating documents with relevant notes, questions, comments
- Labeling documents
- Physical document handling (such as printing, building exhibit binders, shipping)
This tactical part of deposition preparation (often conducted by a paralegal) can be very burdensome, especially if there are a lot of documents involved. Fortunately, going paperless makes much of the tactical-level deposition preparation much easier.
- Marking: documents can be annotated, labeled, and easily sorted.
- Logistics: support staff no longer have to spend late nights printing and shipping documents, and attorneys no longer have to carry excess baggage
- Document management: attorneys no longer risk misplacing or forgetting documents, or having the wrong version
Tech Savvy Litigators Actually Waste Time By Preparing Electronically, unless...
Just like some readers will never give up on paper books, some litigators will never prepare for or conduct a deposition without leaving open the possibility of getting a massive papercut. Nevertheless, many tech savvy litigators currently conduct deposition preparation electronically, yet print out the documents to take to the deposition. These attorneys, in an attempt to make life easier with technology, are actually making life tougher for themselves and their staffs. These attorneys may label, sort and annotate the electronic documents, but if they aren't doing paperless depositions, this work has to be repeated once the documents are printed out. Paperless deposition preparation makes a lot more sense if the litigator is also conducting paperless depositions meaning that the exhibits stay paperless and the participants view all the exhibits during the deposition on laptops or tablets rather than on paper.
Potential Upside to Paperless Deposition Preparation
Whether litigators are conducting deposition preparation electronically, or with old fashioned paper, they all could save a lot of time by adopting paperless deposition technology. Why? Well you can prepare electronically without wasting time converting the electronic prep to paper; you don't have to waste paper by printing the same document multiple times; you save in shipping costs and the hassle of carrying boxes of documents; and you can access any document you want more quickly. What are the impacts of this? They should be obvious by now. But if you need it spelled out, answer this: during your deposition preparation, what would you do with the extra time that you save by not having to assemble the paper once you have prepared your outline?
- Would your strategy and tactics be better developed?
- Would you be better rested and clear headed?
- Would you be able to review more documents?
What other benefits do paperless depositions allow? Download the FREE eBook to learn!