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Deposition Tricks: The Dirty Dozen

Just saw this over at Overlawyered. (You read them right? They’re great.)

“Deposition Tricks: The Dirty Dozen” by Neil Dilloff of DLA Piper.

The following practice tips probably will be of the most use to younger litigators. To the more senior lawyers who use these tricks, this litany will resonate loudly.

  1. The Big Pause
  2. How Boring
  3. Mr. Nasty
  4. The Stick
  5. The Carrot
  6. The Fireside Chat
  7. You Must Be An Idiot
  8. Karnak (a/k/a ESP Questions)
  9. Slimy Questions
  10. The Motor Mouth
  11. The Idiot
  12. The Stall

For a rundown of each of these tactics download the brief 3 page article here.

Dilloff, Neil Joel, Deposition Tricks: The Dirty Dozen (July 2009). Maryland Bar Journal, Vol. 42, No. 4, pp. 48-50, July 2009; University of Baltimore School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1616838


  1. Great list. One and seven are my two favorites.

    • I definitely like #7. Nothing like playing to the ego of someone and then maneuvering them into a position in which they feel the need to justify their answer.

  2. If you liked this article, you might want to read another article, also written by Neil Dilloff and just posted on SSRN: “Deposition Tips for New Litigators,” available at:


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