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TPB, Esq.

I think that's why I like Mamet. His dialogue is very similar to the real world of deposition dialogue.


A fine post, with which I entirely agree!

The "art" you refer to is a very real one and takes years to perfect. The best way to do it is to read lots of transcripts — especially transcripts of your own questioning — with a critical eye. Watching videotaped depositions can also be very useful in a complementary way. Choosing deposition excerpts to offer at trial (or to use for editing down a videotape deposition for trial presentation) teaches you a lot about effective structure and organization of a good direct or cross-examination. Finally, working on appellate briefs from a case you've tried (or at least watched) is painfully educational.

Eventually it becomes instinctive. After two decades of practicing the art, though, I'm still learning it, but I'm vastly better than when I started. And once the skills become instinctive, you're freed up to actually get your head out of your outline and listen to what witnesses are saying, which makes all the difference in the world.


Interesting and provocative post. However, "mastering the art" becomes possible only to a very limited extent when the matter involves a biilingual depo (e.g., English-Spanish). When there are witnesses who need an interpreter, the vagueness, cultural aspects, and purely linguistic peculiarities inhering in the exchange render the lawyers' "mastery" of the art form rather moot. The best the lawyer can hope for most of the time in such a situation is an approximation.


What about the bilingual depo? The depo with witnesses who speak through an interpreter? Does the complexity of dialogue increase in such situations? Does the "mastery of the art form" also increase in difficulty? Does it depend on the native language of the witnesses? The competency of the interpreter? The nature of the case?

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