You prepare deposition or investigation questions in advance, but it’s the follow-up questions—often crafted on the fly—that may be the most important. Indeed, Michael Cohen’s lawyer Lanny Davis said that members of the Senate Intelligence Committee failed to ask the right “follow-up questions” when Cohen appeared before them last year and therefore failed to elicit crucial answers. Don’t make that mistake!
The first thing to do in preparing for a deposition is to think about your goal—what are you trying to achieve with this particular deposition? Your goal should be reflected in your conduct toward the deponent and the scope of your questions. Here’s a look at how three common deposition goals should play out.
In his 2007 deposition in his suit against a reporter, Donald Trump encountered very prepared attorneys. As the Washington Post describes, they “confronted the mogul with his past statements—and with his company’s internal documents, which often showed those statements had been incorrect or invented.” Regardless of your politics or personal feelings, Trump’s deposition presents an excellent example of how to effectively cross-examine an adverse witness in a deposition.