I talked with a reformed defense lawyer the other day.
We were discussing his former boss. I said that he was a cunning strategist. The reformed defense lawyer added that he took a great deposition.
I agreed. Then we started talking about what made his boss great.
After a couple of minutes it dawned on me: What made his boss great was his ability to take techniques usually used in the grooming process and apply them to depositions.
Grooming is typically described as “befriending and establishing an emotional connection to lower inhibitions with the objective of sexual abuse.”
Predators frequently show pornography to or talk about taboo sexual topics with their victims. It desensitizes victims and normalizes aberrant behavior.
The reformed defense lawyer told me about the deposition his boss took of an injured worker. His boss told the injured worker that he liked to relax with a few beers after work and asked the injured worker if he liked to do the same. The injured worker smiled and said “me too.”
As the deposition went on the injured worker relaxed. He volunteered that he liked to get high. The boss smiled and encouraged the worker. Things went downhill fast for the worker’s case.
The boss had a gift. He was born with the ability to understand people. The injured worker would have felt comfortable admitting to anything.
A lot of clients worry about depositions. They think that opposing counsel is going to scream at them or make them cry. Screaming doesn’t worry me.
What worries me is charisma—the attorney who could have been a successful pimp. They’re the ones who really know how to torpedo cases.
“If you play, you gonna pay.”
It’s okay to engage with the attorney taking your deposition. But you have to stick with the three commandments: tell the truth, answer the questions that’s being asked and if you’re not sure, can’t remember or don’t know—say those things.