Deposition Summary Basics, Importance and Writing Tips

Attorneys do a ton of paperwork on a day-to-day basis, and are regularly looking for ways to minimize these demands. There are a few helpful tools here within the world of depositions and hearings, and one of these is known as the deposition summary.

At Phoenix Deposition Services, we’re proud to provide the very best in deposition court reporting, legal transcription and numerous other areas that make life simpler and more straightforward for attorneys, clients and many others in the legal realm. Our transcriptions allow attorneys a much simpler process when creating documents like deposition summaries and many others. What exactly is a deposition summary, why is it so useful to many attorneys across different fields, and what are some tips we can offer on how to approach writing a deposition summary? Here’s a primer.

Deposition Summary Basics

Deposition summaries are a great tool for attorneys, allowing them to cover the main points from a given deposition without simply sending a full transcript. They are often used as a combination of a reference document and a resource for the client.

Summaries can be written in a few formats. One of the most common is narrative format, where the attorney describes the important crux points of the deposition in order. In other cases, some attorneys prefer to write deposition summaries that read like an outline, with bullet points. In either case, the information in the summary will match up to the full transcript provided by our court reporters, allowing readers to reference the entire transcript verbatim if they have questions. Charts or graphs may also be used as part of the summary.

Why They Matter

Attorneys are one major party who will rely on deposition summaries during the litigation process, but they are not the only ones. Clients regularly utilize deposition summaries for review, as will adjusters who are involved in a case. And for attorneys themselves – including attorneys who can’t be present at the deposition – these summaries hold several areas of value, helping them prepare for pretrial motions, further depositions, or trial witness exams. In other cases, a good deposition summary helps bring up noteworthy testimony, including situations where this information is used for witness impeachment.

General Summary Writing Tips

Some very broad tips we can offer to attorneys crafting deposition summaries from our court transcripts include:

  • Do your research: Background work is vital for all summaries, including reviewing the initial complaint and pleadings before the deposition even begins.
  • Important details: For many attorneys, the toughest part of writing deposition summaries is deciding which information is important enough to be included. The key here is to focus on facts that will be most helpful at trial, avoiding unrelated details. Generally speaking, five pages of verbatim deposition transcript should translate into roughly one page of deposition summary notes.
  • Presentation: Remember that you will not be the only one reading this summary – with this in mind, create multiple columns and be careful about how you present the information, ensuring it can be double-checked easily against the full transcript.

For more on deposition summaries and how to organize them, or to learn about any of our video depositions or other Phoenix court reporter services, speak to the staff at Phoenix Deposition Services today.