Depositions Done Right!
“Best Lawyer in America” vs. Donald Trump

(In-house Presentations & Live Webinars)

On June 16, 2016, Deborah Baum, one of the “Best Lawyers In America,” took Donald Trump’s videotaped deposition in a lawsuit wherein the Trump’s LLC sued Baum’s client (chef Geoffrey Zakarian of “Chopped” and “Iron Chef America” fame), who terminated his lease to run a first-class restaurant in the LLC’s high-profile Washington, D.C. hotel. The chef contended that he had been justified in terminating the lease because of much publicized – and much criticized – statements Trump had made, at the very outset of his run for the Republican presidential nomination, regarding illegal immigration. The chef contended those statements violated the lease’s implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing by materially damaging his ability to attract staff and customers to his planned restaurant. (In April 2017, the parties settled the lawsuit “amicably” or so said their respective press releases.)

Using numerous video clips of Q&A from Donald Trump’s deposition, along with some excerpts from the same-case depositions of Donald Trump, Jr. and Ivanka Trump, the program presents a brilliant, entertaining, and extremely non-political analysis of principles and rules applicable to every adverse deposition in every case … for the rest of time. (See Reviews.)

Principal Discussion & Teaching Points:

  • The woeful ubiquity of mediocre adverse depositions
  • “Pantheon-worthy” civil litigators: David Boies, Robert Bennett, & Daniel Petrocelli
  • The G. U. T. of deposition cross-examination:
    • Trial is argument.
    • Deposition is trial.
    • Deposition is argument.
  • Rules re saving impeachment for surprise at trial
  • Court reporting: an imperfect art
  • Aristotle: “Well begun is half done”
  • The single most important deposition admonition
  • Word-hawking (six aspects)
  • Adverse deponent’s credibility risk re his responses to interrogs & doc requests
  • Leading questions put in their deposition place
  • Q&A clarity: the friend of cross-examiner
  • Common misuse of “Do you know?” & “Do you recall?”
  • Deposition cross-examiner = BIG risk-crafter & adverse deponent = BIG risk-taker
  • Pythagorize: uncover adverse deponent’s hidden numbers
  • Deposition = cross-examiner’s laboratory
  • “The Magnificent Seven” Q&A words
  • Always arguing with adverse deponent
  • Using rhetoric & values to intensify arguments
  • Establishing rapport with adverse deponent
  • Power of “So …” & looping
  • Using of enumeration
  • The “relevancy zone”
  • Making the implied express
  • Wisdom re videotaped depositions, including the “Betty White” rule
  • Taking an adverse deposition vs. conducting an under-oath interview