Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Encouraging Attorney Civility During Depositions


Here is a LINK to an excellent article by Thomas G. Wilkinson, Jr., Esq. and Jordan Fox of the Philadelphia office of Cozen & O'Connor entitled "Encouraging Attorney Civility During Depositions: The Enduring Impact of Hall v. Clifton Precision" which was published in the July 2013 edition of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Quarterly.

The article serves as an excellent primer for young and old alike regarding professionalism and proper conduct to be utilized at depositions. 

The article begins with a quote from United States Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren E. Burger in part of which Justice Burger states, "I submit that lawyers who know how to think but have not learned to behave are a menace and a liability, not an asset, to the administration of justice."

The article goes on to review the 1993 decision in Hall v. Clifton Precision, 150 F.R.D. 525 (E.D.Pa. 1993 by the late Judge Robert S. Gawthrop III as a guide for the regulation of attorney conduct at depositions.  Generally, the decision all but abolished attorney-client conferences before answering a pending question, attempted to prevent witness coaching, and limited the type and manner of objections allowed.

The article goes on to give interesting examples from actual depositions.  Overall, the article is an excellent read.

I send thanks to Attorney Paul Oven of the Moosic, PA law firm of Dougherty, Leventhal & Price for bringing this article to my attention.  I also thank Attorney Wilkinson for granting permission to link to the article from Tort Talk.

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