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Techniques and Potential Conflicts in the Handling of Depositions

Depositions can be the largest single item in your case's litigation budget, can decide whether the case settles before trial and can be outcome determinative. It is therefore important at the onset of a case to identify what are the key elements in a case -- it will then be the goal of discovery and depositions to establish those key elements. Planning discovery strategy includes: (a) identifying who to depose and why; (b) scheduling depositions after receiving documents in response to document requests from the other side; (c) identifying how discovery will be used in motion practice and ultimately at trial; and (d) timing depositions early on in a case to permit both sides to evaluate the testimony for settlement purposes. In addition, consider how you may be able to benefit from the oversight of a Special Master to ensure the best uses of your client's resources.
The purpose of taking depositions is to gather information - find out about the case, identify what the facts are, how the events occurred, what the other side knows, what the strengths and weaknesses of each side are, etc. Use the deposition process to find out what you do not know about your case, confirm what you think you know, test out your legal and factual theories, facilitate settlement,  and ultimately as a preparation tool for trial.

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