AuthorJennifer Duncan-Brice
Def‌inition: Depositions can be oral or written. However, most commonly a deposition is an oral examination, sworn
to by the deponent, subject to cross-examination, taken during the discovery phase of litigation
Advantages: Depositions allow an attorney to explore the knowledge of the deponent in depth, and to assess the
credibility and demeanor of the deponent. This previews the evidence of the case so the attorney can evaluate the
case for its strengths and weaknesses. Depositions also let the deponent give information in spontaneous responses,
not f‌iltered through an attorney, and can lock a party or other witness into a story.
Disadvantages: Depositions can be very time consuming and expensive, especially when the deponent is out of state
or expert testimony is involved. Also, depositions can reveal your trial strategy and expose the weaknesses in your case.
Strategy and Tactics:
If you are taking the deposition. Before a deposition is taken know what knowledge the deponent possesses through
answers to interrogatories. Gather all documents to which the deponent has relevant knowledge through production request
or the issuing of subpoenas. Outline your thoughts, but don’t let that get in the way of listening to the deponent’s answers.
If you are presenting someone for deposition. Prepare the deponent by going over the discovery produced, the depo-
nent’s knowledge, anticipated questions by the attorney taking the deposition. Stay alert to interpose appropriate
objections. Protect the deponent from inappropriate behavior.
Scope: Use of depositions; scheduling; notices and subpoena; preparation; conduct of examination; objections; motions.
Statutes and Rules: 211, 212, 217, 219, 222, 287; 735 ILCS 5/8-2301, 735 ILCS 5/2-1003.
Related Topics: General discovery matters, Ch 20; Privileges, Ch 21; Inspection of Documents, Ch 22; Interrogatories,
Ch 25; Discovery Disputes, Ch 27.
Forms: See digital access for the following form:
Form 23:10, Subpoena for Discover y of Documents Pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 204(a)(4).
Illinois Pretrial Practice 23-2
A. General Principles
§23:01 Introduction
§23:02 Governing Rules
§23:03 Scope
§23:04 Time Allowed for Deposition
§23:05 Whether to Depose
B. Types of Depositions
§23:10 Discovery vs. Evidence
§23:11 Oral
§23:12 On Written Questions
§23:13 To Perpetuate Testimony Pursuant to SCR 217
§23:14 Out-of-State Cases
A. General Points
§23:20 Overview
§23:21 Broad Fact Gathering
§23:22 Limited Fact Gathering
§23:23 Tie Down Opposing Party’s Story
§23:24 Obtain Admissions
§23:25 Authenticate Documents
§23:26 Obtain Leverage for Settlement
§23:27 Support for Summary Judgment or Other Motions
B. Using Deposition at Trial
§23:40 Unavailable Witnesses
§23:41 Physicians and Surgeons
§23:42 Impeachment
§23:43 Use of Part of Deposition
§23:44 Costs
§23:45 Admissions
C. On Appeal or Af ter Substitution, Dismissal, or Remand
§23:50 On Appeal
§23:51 After Substitution
§23:52 In Subsequent Cases or on Remand
D. Use in Conjunction With Other Discovery Devices
§23:60 Timing and Order of Discovery
§23:61 Cost-Benef‌it Analysis
A. Preparation
1. Procedure
a. Selec t Deponents
§23:70 Sequence of Deponents
§23:71 Parties
§23:72 Nonparties
§23:73 Corporations and Other Entities
§23:74 Physicians
§23:75 Children and Persons With a Legal Disability
b. Choose Location
§23:80 Which County
§23:81 Foreign Depositions
§23:82 Location Within County
23-3 Depositions
c. Schedule Deposition
§23:90 How Early
§23:91 How Late—Discovery Depositions
§23:92 How Late—Evidence Depositions
§23:93 How Much Notice
§23:94 Limited Discovery Cases
d. Give Notice
i. General Points
§23:100 Notice to All Parties
§23:101 Requirements for Notice
ii. Notice to Party Deponents
§23:110 No Subpoena for Party Depositions; Notice Suff‌icient
§23:111 Representative Deponent
§23:112 Documents in Lieu of Appearance
iii. Subpoena Nonparty Deponents
§23:120 Basic Requirements
§23:121 Exception: Physicians
§23:122 Representative Deponent
§23:123 Deponent Under Party’s Control
§23:124 Documents and Things Requested in Subpoena
§23:125 Service
§23:126 Fees
§23:127 Filing
e. Compelling Deponent to Attend and Answer Questions
§23:140 Authority
§23:141 Compelling a Party
§23:142 Compelling a Nonparty
f. Selec t Recording Method
§23:150 Stenographic Depositions
§23:151 Videotaped Depositions
§23:152 Sound-Recorded and Telephonic Depositions
§23:153 Combinations
g. Deposition Off‌icer
§23:160 Who May Take Depositions
§23:161 Qualif‌ications of Shorthand Reporter
§23:162 Scheduling the Reporter
§23:163 Fees
h. Interpreters
§23:170 For the Hearing Impaired
§23:171 For Non-English Speaking
2. Substantive Preparation
a. General Considerations
§23:180 Introduction
§23:181 Know Your Case
§23:182 Review Available Evidence
§23:183 Know the Deponent’s Areas of Knowledge
§23:184 Establish Goals
b. Prepare Outline
§23:190 Overview
§23:191 Topics, Not Questions
§23:192 Organization Methods
§23:193 Integrate Documents Into the Outline
c. Organize Exhibits in Advance
§23:200 Overview
§23:201 Make Copies

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