Depositional Witnesses Activities Page

Kevin Svitana, Otterbein College
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This activity is the initial steps of role-playing that can be utilized by instructors as part of this overall instruction package. The first aspect of this module would include preparation of an affidavit stating the experts position. The parties representing the characters can then organize as described in the Deposition of the Witness Modules to execute a mock deposition.

Learning Goals

The goal of this module is to engage students in writing their opinions as an expert, and engaging in developing testimony through role-play.students will understand the subtlety of question wording and word choice and response as they relate to the question-and-answer sequence framed in a legal inquiry setting.

Context for Use

If a mock trial is to be the capstone of this learning experience, depositions are important to the development of US trial strategies. Students will need to be proficient in their area of expertise as portrayed by their character, and be able to demonstrate good writing and speaking skills to convey their message.

Description and Teaching Materials

There are minimal teaching materials required for this activity. depositions can be conducted in a small conference room setting. If possible a stenographer could be used to record the actual deposition. If there is a school that trains courtroom professionals in your area, the school may be interested in having students gain experience by recording the mock deposition.

Teaching Notes and Tips

Depositions, much like the trial will have hard deadlines within the semester. Part of the teaching strategy is to monitor student progress so that they are prepared and ready for the depositions at a given time. Keep in mind like real court cases, the flurry of work that occurs increases exponentially as the deadline approaches.


Is a common practice during the collection of depositions to have observers monitor the interrogation with their purpose being to critique and analyze the position of the expert. As an instructor, you can serve as this observer, providing feedback to the participants so that they may better prepare their strategies for the trial.

References and Resources

Actual depositions from the Woburn trial are presented in the resource collection at Trial Testimony page.

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