Observing a Deposition

Observing a Deposition

Blog Savannah Carnes

I joined WilmerHale because I wanted first-hand experience as a young lawyer that would be hard to come by elsewhere. I was eager to see as much as possible during my time at WilmerHale but was surprised that I would observe a deposition in my very first week.

I was excited to attend a deposition, but I didn’t know what to expect. Instead of throwing me in cold, the attorney on the case spent nearly an hour discussing the background and strategy of the patent dispute with me.

The next day, I woke up early to beat LA traffic to the venue. I was so nervous that I would be late that I showed up an hour early! Once at the venue, I headed into the windowless conference room where I would spend the next eight hours quietly taking notes.

It was fascinating to see a deposition in progress. My law school coursework became real and tangible to me in a way it never had in the classroom. I was reflecting on discovery rules from Civil Procedure, objections discussed in Evidence, strategy analyzed in Civil Trial Practice, interview skills practiced in Patent Litigation, and how all these topics interacted with each other.

After a few hours, we broke for lunch. During our break, the WilmerHale attorney and I talked clerkships, the partnership track, and career goals. Now, if I had a break in the middle of a long deposition, the last thing I would want to do is talk more. But he was happy to give me advice; a trait I have found all WilmerHale attorneys have in common.

At the close of the deposition, the WilmerHale attorney and I privately discussed the information we had gathered over the day. He asked me if I thought “we” should ask the witness any additional questions. Being a law student, of course I did! We resumed the deposition and the attorney actually asked the witness my questions. It was such a small thing—five minutes of questioning after a long day of it—but the gesture was huge. I felt so validated and respected. I didn’t feel like an intern, I felt like a team member.

Before parting ways, the attorney asked me what I thought. I let out a stream of superlatives—It was amazing! Fascinating! Enthralling!—before he laughed and told me that I would love being a litigator. I had known that for a while, but I knew then that I would love being a litigator at WilmerHale.



  • Savannah Carnes

    Summer Associate

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