Depos: How to Master the Deposition (IL)

Audio program! (check our CLE Programs page for live versions)

Depositions are not a “one size fits all” process. Good depositions are like art. They take thought, skill and patience—and creativity—from start to finish. Our expert litigators will guide you through the nuanced art of the depo, from understanding the differences between trial and discovery depos to dealing with hostile witnesses and difficult opposing counsel.

And that’s not all. You’ll also find out when to call the judge and when it can be avoided. Do not go into your next deposition unprepared. Let us teach you the methods that have helped our experts succeed.

This litigation CLE program will provide you with strategies to take and defend better depositions both before and during trial.


“Speakers used a real life examples, which was incredibly helpful. Very engaging presentations!” Grace K. Nae, Esq.


This program was recorded in 2017.

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What You Will Learn

Overview and Strategy

  • Depositions not a “one size fits all” process.  – trial deposition vs discovery deposition
  • Understanding your goals and keeping your deposition goal-driven.
  • Who should attend and why
  • Thoughts on preparing specific questions and outline of themes.
  • Preparing for “unexpected” answers/objections or other difficulties.
  • Other tips and tricks that may give you an edge.
  • Using the depo at your hearing or trial – strategies and techniques

Handling Documents & Exhibits – Making the Record; Get the Authentication You Need

Witness Preparation

  • How to best prepare your witness
    • Tips and strategies
    • Difficulties to avoid
    • What happens when you have a witness who can’t or wont take the time to be prepared – what are your options (can you do it remotely, do you drop the witness, do you roll the dice, etc.)
    • What happens when you have a witness that won’t listen to you when you are preparing them
    • What do you do if you realize during witness prep that the witness is going to be a disaster (too angry, bad presence, lies, too weak, rambles too much, a danger to your case, anything along these lines) – including when you are working under a more senior partner or when you are the decision maker
    • Anything else you can think of that you’ve had to deal with not covered above
  • The percipient witness vs. a PMK
  • Ethical considerations

Expert Witness Depositions

  • Effective opposition research options on expert witnesses
  • Strategies to qualify and/or attack expert witnesses
  • Attacking the expert with his/her own words from prior deposition, treatises, expert reports, etc.
  • Using Motions in Limine to exclude expert or testimony

Deposition Objections

  • How do I do it?
  • Why do I do it? / Depo objection strategies
  • What to avoid
  • Biggest risks in objecting and not objecting
  • What works
  • What matters
  • Additional tips from the trenches

Handling the Difficult Witness and/or Opposing Counsel

  • Concrete tips and advice such as:
    • The angry opposing counsel – what do you do?
    • When opposing counsel yells –  how to handle
    • Opposing counsel that objects to everything, how do you handle?
    • The witness keeps obfuscating or saying “I don’t remember” to everything, now what?
    • You know the witness is lying – is there anything you can do?
    • How to keep the depo from getting out of control
    • How to avoid needing to call the judge
    • The times when it is worth bothering the judge in the middle of your depo

Demonstration and Discussion about Demonstration


“Speakers used a real life examples, which was incredibly helpful. Very engaging presentations!” Grace K. Nae, Esq.

“I learned a lot about expert witnesses, which would be useful in one of my current cases.” Jay Kumar, Esq.

“Everyone was great – very knowledgeable about the subject matter and all speakers imparted great advice and insight.” Neil McLaughlin, Esq.

“Lots of good material and examples.” Maureen Faller, Esq.

“Everything was great. Each speaker was so informative and provided great examples and tactics. I learned a lot of useful information.” Krista Sifuentez, Esq.

“This was a very informative. Better than reading books about the topic.” James Lin, Esq.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the seminar. I feel that I now have the knowledge necessary to better choose witnesses to depose and how to properly and completely prepare for taking and defending such depositions.”

“Very satisfied – I appreciate the program was at the appropriate level for the audience, I learned tidbits that will increase my confidence and taking depositions as I return to the action practice of law.”

“Presenters were all excellent and really knew their stuff.”

“Very thorough and very informative.”

“Speakers were all excellent and presenting practical tips.”

“Very well done by all speakers involved. Deposition taking seems much less daunting.”

“The demonstrations were a highlight, particularly Leonard and Warner.”

“I found the demonstrations helpful.”



Larry Heftman, Esq.
Schiff Hardin

Larry Heftman is a trial lawyer and commercial litigator. Larry has litigated high stakes complex commercial disputes throughout the country with a strong record of success in jury and bench trials. He focuses on fiduciary and class action litigation frequently involving financial institutions.

Fiduciary Litigation

Larry has particular experience in fiduciary litigation involving trustees, executors, and officers and directors. Larry has litigated a wide range of trust and estate matters involving trust construction, distribution disputes, contested estates, guardianship, undue influence, and trust investment decisions.

On behalf of financial institutions, Larry has defended claims for breach of fiduciary duty regarding trustee and lending decisions, as well as Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and Fair Debt Collection violations. On the plaintiff side, Larry has enforced lender’s rights in loan and foreclosure disputes, conducted underwriting and fraud investigations and prosecuted claims to enforce financial institution bonds.

Consumer Class Actions

Larry has also worked on a wide range of consumer class actions alleging unfair and deceptive business practices, TCPA, and breach of contract claims. He has defended insurance, financial institution, and telecommunications clients against consumer class actions, leading to dismissal of claims or favorable settlements.

Larry graduated from Harvard Law School, J.D. in 2004, magna cum laude. Larry earned his B.A. at Emory University, B.A., in Political Science, summa cum laude.

Michael I. Leonard, Esq.
Attorney at Law
Leonard Meyer LLP

Mike is a nationally recognized trial lawyer who has successfully tried to verdict a wide variety of cases in Federal and State courts across the country. He is a “go-to” trial lawyer who has represented individuals in single plaintiff actions; individuals and companies in class and collective actions; some of the nation’s and region’s largest corporations; and individuals in Federal and State criminal trials. 

Mike has been recognized as a top trial lawyer and commercial and criminal litigator by the following: The National Trial Lawyers; America’s Best Attorneys; Super Lawyers; Leading Lawyers Network; American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys; and Crain’s Chicago Business.

Mike’s extraordinarily diverse practice has seen him successfully take to verdict cases ranging from securities fraud, employment discrimination, sexual harassment, breach of contract, ERISA, personal injury, and Federal and State criminal matters, among others.

Mike has also arbitrated a wide variety of cases, including international arbitration. Many of his cases have been the subject of national and local media attention, stirring recognition in publications ranging from the Wall Street Journal to the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times, Los Angeles Times, CBS News, Law 360, and Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.

Mike has a keen interest in the craft and science of trial practice, and he is a frequent lecturer on trial and litigation related subjects. He is an instructor in Northwestern School of Law’s prestigious trial practice program, where he has also coached some of its Mock Trial teams.

Samera Ludwig, Esq.
Nixon Peabody

Samera concentrates her practice in handling complex multi-party litigation matters in the areas of employment law and general commercial litigation. She also advises individuals and corporations in employment-based immigration compliance matters.

Samera has been recognized as a Illinois Super Lawyers "Rising Star" from 2008 through 2012 and has frequently spoken at the American Conference Institute Forums.

An extensive bio with recent case experience can be found on Samera’s firm website, linked above.  Of her extensive experience, she recently represented a large national retailer in multiple nationwide class actions alleging claims under state consumer fraud statutes in connection with the sale of services.  

Samera represents and counsels employers in federal, local and state employment law matters including wrongful discharge and workplace defamation. Published decisions include Achanzar v. Ravenswood Hospital, et al., 326 Ill. App. 3d 944, 762 N.E.2d 538 (1st Dist. 2001) (affirming defense verdict on appeal for alleged workplace defamation).

Bradley C. Nahrstadt, Esq.
Lipe Lyons Murphy Nahrstadt & Pontikis Ltd.

Mr. Nahrstadt recently started his own firm,  Lipe Lyons Murphy Nahrstadt & Pontikis Ltd. Previously, he was a partner with Williams Montgomery & John, Ltd. where he focused his practice on the defense of high stakes products liability, premises liability, insurance coverage and bad faith and commercial claims.  Mr. Nahrstadt has litigated cases involving a wide variety of products, including fine grinding machines, silicone breast implants, dietary supplements, automobile axles, hydraulic automotive lifts, hydraulic jacks, brakes, clutches, child safety seats, chemical floor wax strippers, signal components, genetically engineered corn, rewinders, pharmaceuticals, thermal oxidizers, gravimetric feeders, welding rods and contact lens solution.  Mr. Nahrstadt has served as regional counsel for a national testing laboratory and currently serves as regional counsel for a large consumer of welding rods, a leading optical manufacturer and a major brake and clutch manufacturer.

Mr. Nahrstadt’s recognitions and listings include AV Peer Review Rating by LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell;  selected as one of the “40 Illinois Attorneys under Forty to Watch” by the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, 2006;  listed in Illinois Super Lawyers, 2007, 2010 (Products Liability Defense);  selected by peers as Illinois Leading Lawyer for Products Liability Defense and Medical Malpractice Defense.

Mr. Nahrstadt’s faculty positions include the following:  Adjunct Professor of Trial Advocacy, DePaul University College of Law (Winter 1998, Spring 1999, Summer 1999);  Instructor, Institute for Paralegal Education (June 2002, July 2002, November 2003, August 2008);  Instructor, National Business Institute (November 2004, June 2008);  Instructor, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (January 2005, November 2006);  Adjunct Professor, College of Lake County, Paralegal Training Program (January 2007 – 2009).

Mr. Nahrstadt is a graduate of Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois, B.A., summa cum laude, 1989.  He received his J.D., cum laude, in 1992 from the University of Illinois College of Law.

Andrew Porter, Esq.
Drinker Biddle

Andrew C. Porter is a trial lawyer who takes a high-energy approach to all of his cases and defends his clients aggressively. Andrew is a member of Drinker Biddle’s White Collar Defense and Corporate Investigations team, and also works on complex commercial litigation matters. During his 15 years of public service as an assistant U.S. attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois, Andrew led more than 100 investigations and tried more than 30 federal jury trials and two federal bench trials.


Since his return to private practice in 2014, Andrew has:

     * Convinced the Department of Justice to forego prosecution in a tax fraud investigation involving claimed unreported income of over ,000,000.

     * Prevailed on all counts in a week-long bench trial representing a defendant facing multiple felonies.

     * Represented multiple entities and individuals in grand jury proceedings without charges being brought.

     * Conducted several internal investigations for public and private entities.

     * Served as lead trial lawyer in a M+ fraud action that settled immediately prior to trial.

     * Served as lead trial lawyer in multiple, ongoing trade secrets, breach of contract, and civil fraud actions across the United States.

Federal Prosecutions:

While an assistant U.S. attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois, Andrew:

     * Led the investigation and highly publicized prosecution of more than 100 Chicago Latin King gang members and their associates. Gang members were convicted of crimes including racketeering, extortion, murder and drug trafficking.

     * Oversaw the investigation and prosecution of an executive convicted of wire fraud and perjury for his sale of almost million in fraudulent securities to multiple suburban Chicago investors.

     * Oversaw the investigation and prosecution two executives of a home health care company convicted of health care fraud.

     * Oversaw the investigation and prosecution of an auto executive convicted of mail and wire fraud in connection with the million purchase of an auto dealership in Gurnee, Illinois. The case was built on both covert and open communications with people associated with the accused, as well as a concrete understanding of industry regulations.

     * Worked on the prosecution of former Chicago Alderman Edward Vrdolyak, who was convicted of wire and mail fraud in connection with the multimillion-dollar sale of property in Chicago.

     * Worked on the prosecution of multiple executives of a publicly traded distributor of wire and cable products convicted of securities fraud in connection with a more than million accounting fraud designed to artificially inflate the company’s financial records.

     * Worked on the prosecution of City of Chicago building inspectors convicted of receiving bribes in exchange for consideration in the enforcement of the Chicago Building Code, a government corruption case.

Kelly M. Warner, Esq.
Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila LLP

Kelly Warner not only understands how to get the job done, she knows how to do it strategically, efficiently and with a smile. Her razor-sharp logistical instincts are perfectly balanced by her engaging, approachable manner and stellar communications skills.

In dozens of complex internal investigations, Kelly has guided clients to identify and root out wrongdoing at all levels of organizations. In regulatory inquiries, Kelly’s collaborative and creative approach creates opportunities for her clients to efficiently address the government’s interest. In commercial litigation, she has led teams of attorneys prosecuting and defending actions in state and federal courts nationwide.

Kelly’s ability to communicate and bring people together includes a cutting-edge knowledge of technology and the law. She is the exception to the rule that most people who are skilled at understanding technical complexity are not very good at communicating about it. This combination helps her to help her clients manage risk, avoid discovery pitfalls and detours, and uncover the facts. Kelly works closely with her clients to ensure they are fully leveraging technology as an offensive and defensive tool. Even in matters where she has not been retained as trial counsel, clients come to Kelly for assistance developing litigation strategies that conserve resources and meet clients’ needs.

Kelly has investigated and litigated cases involving allegations of breach of contract, fraud, defamation, trade-secret misappropriation, sexual harassment, unfair competition, negligence, and violations of federal criminal law, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). She also has partnered with clients to develop internal compliance policies, including codes of conduct, anti-bribery and litigation readiness policies, and to train employees on these procedures.


Audio Recording & Materials Package – CD or Download: $425

For CDs please add $7.50 shipping and, in CA, sales tax.

CLE Credit

IL General:  This program is approved for 7.5 units of general CLE in Illinois through 4/12/19.

IL Professional Responsibility: This program is approved for 3.0 units of Professional Responsibility CLE in Illinois through 4/12/19.

CA General:  This program is approved for 7.5 units of general CLE in California.

This program is approved for CLE in the states listed above.  Upon request, Pincus Pro Ed will provide any information an attorney needs to support their application for CLE approval in other states other than what is listed above.



Terms and Policies

Recording policy: No audio or video recording of any program is permitted.

Seminar Cancellations: Should you be unable to attend for any reason, please inform us in writing no later than 14 days prior to the event and a credit voucher will be issued. If you prefer, a refund, less a $50 non-refundable deposit, will be issued. No refunds or credits will be given for cancellations received within 14 days of an event. However, if you notify us within 14 days of an event, and wish to convert your in-person attendance registration to an Audio CD package (with handout), we can do so. A small additional shipping charge, and sales tax in CA, will be incurred. No shipping charge is incurred for downloads. We will also issue a voucher for the amount paid if you notify us within 14 days and prefer not to have the audio recording.

Substitutions may be made at any time.

Webinars, Tele-seminars and Webcast Cancellations: Once log-in codes and passwords are issued for a webinar, tele-seminars or webcasts, a refund is not possible. If for any reason you cannot attend the event after you have received the codes, we will automatically convert your registration to an instant streaming/instant download or CD format and provide you with the information you need to access the recording after the program concludes and the recording is available.  Conversions to CD require a $7.50 shipping fee, and in CA, 9% sales tax.

Downloads/CDs/DVDs – Refund policy:

Downloads are non-returnable/non-refundable once purchased and received. Tapes, CDs and DVDs are returnable for a full refund or replacement if defective, within 90 days of purchase.

Reminder: The room temperature at hotels and other seminar locations are notoriously hard to control. Please bring a sweater or jacket in case it gets cold and/or layer as if you are going to the movies so you are comfortable.

$425.00 each

April 13, 2017  |  Chicago, IL