Depositions are more than a discovery tool. When done well, they can determine the outcome of a case. Yet, for all the importance of knowing how to do a good deposition, this crucial skill is an often overlooked aspect of legal education and lawyer training. That is, until now.
Seton Hall Law School and the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) will be offering an intensive workshop on winning depositions open to alumni and their colleagues, to be held April 24-26. Three small sections also will be set aside for Seton Hall Law students who enroll in the program as a 1-credit course.
Lori Borgen, Associate Director of the Center for Social Justice and organizer of the program, explains that the workshop is designed to teach lawyers how to utilize depositions to improve their courtroom success. “The point of the deposition should be more than just fact gathering,” says Professor Borgen. “You want to consider ahead of time the arguments you are seeking to build, how you can elicit the answers that will support your case, and how to identify other potential sources of information.”
Rather than extensive classroom lectures, the NITA format breaks participants into small groups so they can “learn by doing.” The format consists of group exercises, critiques, and the opportunity to work on areas that may need improvement.
“A lot of lawyers end up graduating law school with only the vaguest idea about depositions,” notes Professor Borgen. “As in all our skills training, our goal is to get participants on their feet and to do the work so that when they are done with the training they are ready to go.”
The deposition training is just one more aspect of Seton Hall Law’s continuing efforts to expand its skills curriculum which now includes intensive courses for students in persuasion and advocacy, advanced civil and criminal trial preparation, e-discovery, mediation, and transactional skills. Each of these skills courses is highly interactive, requiring students to perform through multiple hands-on exercises or drafting assignments.
Seton Hall Law alumni who want to take part in the two-and-half-day deposition workshop being held at the law school will receive a 15% discount off the $1,495 program fee, and earn an estimated 17 CLE credits for the program.