How to Feed a Lawyer (and Other Irreverent Observations from the Legal Underground)

    Click on the book cover for details!

« Oh Yeah, It's Over for Law Review | Main | Advice to Young Lawyers #27 »


the dark goddess of replevin

In truth, this is not a post about a particular type of lawyer, either associate or senior partner.

It is a comment on how little work is actually involved in the defending of most depositions, and how useless "woodshedding" as an enterprise truly is.


"woodshedding" is imoportant on certain cases. On some others it may cause confusion for client and cause actual harm.


Two words: Telephone deposition.


I absolutely hate the term "defending a deposition." In my experience it's mostly used by litigators, not trial lawyers. (Litigators don't go to trial, so they don't have anything else to "defend" except depositions, motion hearings, etc.)

But I disagree that woodshedding is useless. There's a big difference between improper and unethical practice — telling a witness what to say — and proper woodshedding. Proper woodshedding involves giving the witness (a) an understanding of the process and (b) tools to recognize and deal with traps he may be subjected to. Depending on the case, the witness, and the opponent, woodshedding can be crucially important.


Beldar: In my experience, many lawyers don't properly prepare--or woodshed--their clients before a deposition. It's something I certainly don't complain about, especially when I'm taking the deposition. But it's something some of my lawyer friends and I talk about a lot: Why is it that so few lawyers bother to prepare their clients properly? Perhaps it's because they don't care, or because they don't know how, or because they think it's unethical. But in the defense firm where I used to work defending admirality cases (among other things), proper deposition preparation was something the partners always emphasized over and over again. And for good reason: in admirality case, the company witnesses were often uncooperative barge workers who were prone to say whatever nonsense popped into their minds. It meant that the preparation for the deposition often took twice as long as the deposition itself.

I still engage in deposition-preparation-overkill, even with experts. It's something I've been meaning to write about on the Illinois Trial Practice Weblog, but haven't gotten around to yet.

tionna knox

please tell me wat kind of lawyers is there i need thids information before tommorow 4/26/07 for a project

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

My Photo

Search Beyond the Underground