Monday, May 10, 2010

Hostile Opposing Counsel - Part 1

In our newsletter, we've been discussing how expert witnesses can handle hostile opposing counsel during depositions. The stories and advice keep coming and are too good not to share. So from the experts who've been there:

I once had an oppposing attorney scream at me 2 inches from my face and spittle peppered my head. I then said "let the record show the opposing attorney," and then described his antics. He was a perfect gentleman for the rest of the deposition.


I think the best defense with these types of attorneys is to maintain one's composure.


I think if opposing counsel gets too far out of line, your attorney should step in and say something. That's happened to me only once; my attorney "suggested" that I be treated as a professional or the deposition would come to an end, or he would call the judge. Opposing counsel apologized and backed off.


Here are some strategies that work well for me. I request that the attorney either repeat a question and ask for clarification (I totally understand the question) which slows the process and helps keep the opposing counseling in check and off point. Another option for me is to start speaking slower, take extra pauses and lower my speaking voice or count to five before answering a question -- sometimes silence is a great leveler. All of this is done as I smile and answer the question in my own way and in my own time. At other times I state that I need to take a break.


"Why are you harrassing me?" in order to get this into the record. Then, the attorney denies this, but he changes his manner and it puts him off his plan of attack.

Check back for part 2.

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