From IPE: Deposition Preparation for Paralegals

Deposition Preparation for Paralegals
guest author: Sheridan Shauntee

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Whether the party, the expert, and/or witness is noticed for deposition via attorney communications and agreement, or subpoena, preparation for deposition, just with was all phrases of litigation, can be arduous especially if your case contains multiple individuals and issues of law.

As paralegals we have learned, and with experience come to understand, that depositions are the opportunity for the attorney to obtain further information. By questioning the individuals involved, experts or lay witnesses, attorneys are provided with more content to ultimately present their argument. In doing so, paralegals are usually tasked with continued investigatory duties such as, locating additional individuals, drafting further discovery requests, visiting inspection sites, and continuing interaction with clients.

To prepare for such duties, it would be necessary to ensure that a deposition is successfully attained by:

  • Preparing notices of depositions, and/or subpoena, through attorney consult
  • Coordinating schedules of attorney and deponents
  • Assessing the correct fees for deponents
  • Finalizing all courtroom or office spaces with court reporters

To achieve the above, it is appropriate to speak to other support staff, and court administrators to verify specific procedures.

Once the deposition is set, we then move into assisting the attorney with preparation. This would consist of:

  • Reviewing file materials: complaint/answer; discovery responses and productions, making certain to identify/mark pertinent information for attorney review and possibly use as an exhibit. Pertinent documents may be: police reports, photographs, written statements, contracts, portions of interrogatory answers and document productions, purchasing orders/appraisals, social media posts
  • Developing a timeline of events i.e. for damages an outline or summary of the deponent’s medical history, and in liability matters outline of contractual obligations, or highlights of policy documents
  • Creating a small binder or folder containing the pertinent documents, research, and in-house memorandum regarding the deponent and case in general.
  • Providing case specific questions for the attorney to expound upon or use in examination of the deponent.

Once the above is completed, have a short meeting with your supervising attorney to go over the documents provided in the deposition binder to assure everything is accounted for, or if additional research or documents may be needed. If attending the deposition, it would be necessary to bring extra copies for all attendees, and take detailed notes.

Sheridan Shauntee is a paralegal with Crivello Carlson, S.C. Her principal areas of experience are personal injury litigation, civil liberties, and case management. She has extensive knowledge in legal databases and document procurement. Ms. Shauntee earned her undergraduate degree from University of Wisconsin-Madison, and her M.S. degree in Public Policy from Drexel University.

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