Depositions are a lot like parenting…

Posted on | November 13, 2013 | 1 Comment

From almost day one as an attorney, I’ve spent a ton of time in depositions. Some of them I take, some of them I sit through as this or that attorney peppers my client with questions, but all of them have created in me this internal script of how to depose a client. I remember thinking that I would never have it all down, never memorize the “introduction,” never figure out when and where and how to object. The first several years were spent with a printed out script of questions and introductory information, a guideline that I read through religiously at the start of any deposition. Then slowly, those words seared onto my brain and they came pouring out of me without need for direction or instruction. By year three, I was a veritable deposition guru, with no need for a script of any kind.

That’s about the time that I realized that parenting is, be it fortunately or unfortunately, quite similar to taking a deposition. The first few years need a script and after that, it’s just every mom or dad for themselves, and you’re rote reciting the same words you’ve said over and over and over again: “I love you” instead of “this will be the deposition of ” and “put on your shoes” rather than “all objections except as to form of the question and responsiveness of the answer will be reserved until time of trial or other use of this deposition if that’s agreeable.”

Lately, I’ve realized just how much of my work life is spilling over into my home life and with that, let me share with you five ways that being a parent becomes a lot like taking a deposition (and yes, this also applies to non-lawyers!):

1. No matter how many times I try not to, when J mumbles an answer to this or that question, my first instinct is to say “Is that a yes?”

2. I will, in fact, continue to repeat my question or command until I get an answer or some action, regardless of how long we both have to sit there and listen to me ask.

3.  It’s not about trickery, it’s always about lulling J into a false sense of security… a happy world of “this isn’t my adversary, this is my friend” and then BOOM…. he’s admitted to doing whatever I knew he’d done to begin with and the punishment begins.

4. There is, in fact, someone taking down all of his answers… it just happens to be me, in my head…. and I can and may use them against him later.

5. Above all else, I’m really just trying to get to know my deponent, or in parenting, my kid… find out his strengths and weaknesses, find out what makes him tick. And if it takes an hour, or three hours, or several days, months, and years, I’m going to keep asking questions until I find out what I need to know.

Because at the end of the day, all that really matters is that I get to know who is sitting on the other side of the table… regardless of whether it’s a conference room table or a dinner table.


One Response to “Depositions are a lot like parenting…”

  1. ryenerman
    November 13th, 2013 @ 6:50 pm

    This is perfect! Now that Oldest is 10 and getting information from him is . . . difficult, I’ve started to feel as though I’m cross-examining him fairly often. Not in a hostile way, but instead asking several questions to get at information and referring back to his prior answers for comparison etc. It’s ridiculous. Sigh.

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