Depositions

Time and again, we’ve seen outrageous behavior and absurd antics from both lawyers and litigants during depositions. Sometimes deponents tell attorneys to “suck [their] dicks,” and sometimes attorneys actually draw pictures of dicks.

Sometimes, Biglaw partners get so frustrated due to the sheer stupidity of the deponent’s testimony on the record that they come thisclose to losing their minds.

Luckily, in this case, we’ve got it on video…

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I probably took just a dozen business trips as an associate (I travel much more frequently now as an in-house lawyer). A dozen is also about the total number of hours I actually spent working on all those flights combined. I just never could pass up the “free” travel billables, even if it meant working all night on arrival.

A more or less typical trip, described after the jump.

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How often do you stop to think about the ubiquitous “Made in China” label? If you’re a China lawyer, you should think about it almost every day.

To convince recalcitrant clients of the need for product liability protection for the products they are having made in China, I sometimes send them the following deposition questions asked of a U.S. manufacturer whose China-made product had badly injured a child:

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Remember back in June when photographer Jeffrey Binion sued Justin Bieber for allegedly ordering one of his bodyguards to beat him up? Well, Justin Bieber’s videotaped deposition in that case has been leaked and it turns out he’s as much of an arrogant jerk as you expected. He personally objects to questions, sneers at the deposing lawyer, and refuses to give straight answers to obvious questions.

But is he a more entertaining deponent than Lil Wayne?

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The craziest things happen during the course of litigation in Texas. From threatening to enlarge opposing counsels’ assholes and forcing associates to spy on jurors to using terms like “c*nt” and “dumb sh*t” when referring to colleagues and calling partners “uppity bitches,” things can get a little loco in the Lone Star State.

Bad behavior like this is usually on the part of the lawyers themselves, not their clients. But maybe the clients have decided to take some cues from their lawyers. In Texas, clients now think it’s cool to threaten to anally rape testifying deponents, question lawyers’ sexual orientation, threaten to fight them on the record, and show up to videotaped depositions wearing t-shirts emblazoned with multiple f-bombs.

We always knew that things could get a little wild during depositions, but not this wild….

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Remember Adriana Ferreyr? She’s the 30-year-old Brazilian telenovela star who’s suing octogenarian moneybags George Soros because he didn’t buy her a $1.9 million apartment (or a $4.3 million apartment; the nerve of that old codger). When we last checked in on her, she was busy hiring Davis Polk alum William Beslow to fling legal arguments at the geriatric gigolo almost thrice her age she once banged, presumably hoping to make billions.

Ferreyr’s adventures in gold-digging continue this month with claims of her wild and crazy antics at a recent deposition in New York. She may only be known as a Hoveround ho in this country, but that doesn’t mean she’s not going to act like a diva.

Adriana Ferreyr doesn’t care if you’re a legal legend of the bar. She’ll still slap the glasses right off your stupid face…

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When this lawyer took to the pages of a local industry mag to dispense general advice about depositions, she probably figured she was tossing out some non-controversial observations and maybe boosting her own profile. Hopefully it could drum up some business.

She probably didn’t count on kicking over a hornet’s nest of fellow lawyers, who ripped her advice and went so far as to accuse her of violating local ethics rules.

Hey, there’s no such thing as bad publicity, right?

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* The fiscal impasse in our nation’s capital is over! The government shutdown is over! Obamaphones for everyone!!!!! [Washington Post]

* Tim Geithner was recently deposed as part of a lawsuit alleging that the government bailout of AIG was unconstitutional. Muammar Gaddafi was less recently deposed as part of a coup alleging that his female bodyguards were unconstitutionally sexy. [Fox Business]

* Berkeley Bird Beheader begins boot bivouac. [Fox5 Vegas via Las Vegas Law Blog]

* Cory Booker (Yale Law ’97) won a Senate seat last night, promptly bumping Lat from the cover of the next Yale Law alumni magazine. It was the Halloween issue — the annual Boo Haven edition. [ABC News]

* Mark Cuban was acquitted of insider trading charges yesterday. In related news, this basset hound loves fans. [CBS News]

* Brooklyn Law faces a possible debt downgrade from Standard & Poor’s. The school’s unemployed graduates, substandard and poor, have yet to weigh in. [Crain's New York Business]

* In other law school news, Chicago-Kent announces an interesting new initiative (with a Whopper of a name). [IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law (press release)]

Danger, Biglaw Associates!

Contractors have been there before — an unnecessarily angry associate screaming at a room of temps muttering about when they were first-year associates. So what has got their panties in a bunch? Well, like most curmudgeons, it is change. The legal landscape is rapidly shifting, and one has to move with the tide or be swept away.

We frequently throw the term “Contract Attorney” around in this column, but there are a wide variety of tasks that are now considered contract work. As the tasks change, contractors encroach more and more on work traditionally thought of as an associate’s domain.

So what are the most typical contractor tasks, and how are they affecting the associates’ way of life?

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Sometimes, the conventional wisdom is dangerously wrong.

Today’s conventional wisdom is this: “Never do any direct examination of your own witnesses at [discovery] depositions. These witnesses are under your control. If opposing counsel tries to use the deposition testimony against you in a motion, you’ll just get an affidavit from your witness and fix the problem. If opposing counsel tries to use the bad testimony against you at trial, you’ll just call the witness live at trial, and you’ll fix any issues with the testimony there. Doing direct examination during the deposition just gives opposing counsel advance notice of the way you’ll fix the testimony later.”

(Some folks will admit to an exception or two to this rule. If the witness said “yes” and meant “no,” then maybe you have to fix that on the record at the deposition. If the witness is 95 years old and has a bad cough, then maybe you should do a direct examination during the deposition. But those exceptions are typically few and far between.)

If you haven’t yet heard this conventional wisdom, then either (1) you’re not a litigator or (2) you haven’t yet defended your first deposition of a person under your control.

I’m here today to tell you why this conventional wisdom is often wrong. . . .

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