Depositions with Difficult, or Hostile Witnesses: Protocols, and favorable and effective methods for getting best outcome in information gathering

Anthony L. Cochran
Rebecca Kaiser Fournier
Dion K. Bass
Edward J. Heppt
Patrick J. Cain
Wm. Parker Sanders
Anthony L. Cochran | Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP
Rebecca Kaiser Fournier | Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP
Dion K. Bass | Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP
Edward J. Heppt | Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP
Patrick J. Cain | Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP
Wm. Parker Sanders | Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP

On-Demand: December 14, 2022

Depositions with Difficult, or Hostile Witnesses: Protocols, and favorable and effective methods for getting best outcome in information gathering

$195.00 2 hour CLE

MCLE Credit Information:

Select Your State Below to View CLE Credit Information

Can't Decide Which CLE Program?

Access All
Federal Bar Association Programs
Co-Sponsored by myLawCLE
Only $395yr

Annual Subscription includes access to:
  • 500+ Live CLE Webinars
  • National Hot Legal Topics
  • New Laws and Regulations
  • State Specific Programs
  • All Formats: Live, Replay, & On-Demand
Subscribe Today
Training 5 or more people?

Sign-up for a law firm subscription plan and each attorney in the firm receives free access to all CLE Programs

Program Summary

This webinar will discuss deposition protocols as well as favorable and effective methods for getting the best outcome in information gathering. It will also touch on useful strategies to follow when handling a difficult, or even hostile, witness.

This course is co-sponsored with myLawCLE.

Key topics to be discussed:

  • Preparing to take a deposition
  • Optimizing use of ESI for a commercial deposition
  • Rule 30(b)(6) deposition
  • Expert witness deposition
  • Handling the difficult witness
  • The classic “funnel” approach

Date: February 22, 2023

Closed-captioning available


Anthony L. Cochran_ Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP._FedBarAnthony L. Cochran | Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP

Anthony (Tony) L. Cochran is a Partner in the Litigation Practice of Smith Gambrell Russell LLP. During the 45 years he has been practicing law in Atlanta, Mr. Cochran has represented many individuals and businesses on a wide variety of complex matters. He has tried dozens of jury trials in many areas of the law (both civil and criminal, federal and state), bench trials (in federal and state courts), administrative and regulatory hearings (before both federal and state agencies and boards), and medical peer review hearings at hospitals. His unique experience allows him to handle parallel civil, administrative, and criminal proceedings, which are common in today’s legal environment. Being able to competently handle civil, administrative, and potentially criminal matters for a client simultaneously can be an enormous savings to a client by preventing duplication of effort.

In 2005, Mr. Cochran was inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers. He is consistently listed as being one of the “Top 10 Attorneys” in Georgia by Super Lawyers. He is listed in Super Lawyers, Corporate Counsel Edition, under Business Litigation. He is also listed annually in the publication The Best Lawyers in America® (Criminal Law) and in Atlanta Magazine’s compilation of the Best Lawyers in Atlanta (Criminal Law).

In addition to his law practice, Mr. Cochran is quite active as a Yoga Instructor, teaching several classes each week. He also served as former Chair and Director for the Zaban Paradies Center which assists homeless couples obtain housing and employment.

Mr. Cochran regularly appears on continuing education panels, speaking at many seminars on a variety of topics, including the application of Daubert to expert testimony, and a host of topics spanning from representing physicians to white-collar criminal law and investigations.

Mr. Cochran graduated magna cum laude from Northwestern University Law School in 1976, beginning his legal career in Atlanta with the firm Powell, Goldstein, Frazer & Murphy. From 1982 to 1985, he served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, prosecuting a variety of criminal cases. While an Assistant United States Attorney, Mr. Cochran received commendations from the U.S. Attorney General in a Department of Defense procurement fraud prosecution, and from the Director of the F.B.I. in a vote fraud prosecution.

He has also served as an Adjunct Faculty Member of the Emory University School of Law from 1986-2000.


Rebecca Kaiser Fournier_ Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP._FedBarRebecca Kaiser Fournier | Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP

Ms. Fournier’s diverse portfolio includes business litigation, professional malpractice, shareholder disputes, contract disputes, and other complex commercial matters in both state and federal court.

Prior to joining SGR, Ms. Fournier was a partner at Figliulo & Silverman, and prior to that, an attorney at Henderson Parks, LLC, where she practiced criminal defense, civil rights, and commercial litigation, and tried numerous criminal and civil cases to verdict. Out of law school, she served as a fellow at Cabrini Green Legal Aid, where she practiced criminal and juvenile defense. Ms. Fournier has extensive dispositive motion and state and federal appellate experience and has argued before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. She has been recognized by Leading Lawyers as an Emerging Lawyer, which designation represents the top 2% of lawyers in Illinois under 40 years old or practicing less than 10 years, and was profiled in Leading Lawyers Magazine in 2020.

Ms. Fournier earned her bachelor’s degree from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her Juris Doctorate from The University of Chicago Law School.


Dion K. Bass_ Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP._FedBarDion K. Bass | Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP

Dion K. Bass is an Associate at Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP in Jacksonville, Florida. He focuses his practice on insurance defense, medical and professional liability defense, trucking litigation, employment disputes, and product liability defense.

Before joining SGR in 2020, Mr. Bass practiced at another Jacksonville firm where he handled a variety of civil litigation matters, including medical malpractice defense, municipality defense, insurance defense, premises and general liability, and employment and labor law.

Before practicing law, Mr. Bass served in the United States Air Force as an aerospace maintenance apprentice. Following his time in uniform, he served military members and their families as a Youth Development and Family Services Specialist with the Department of the Air Force. During that time, he spent three and a half years in Japan.

Mr. Bass earned his J.D. from the University of Florida Levin College of Law, and upon graduation he was an inaugural recipient of the Dean’s Leadership Award. He served as President of the UF Law Trial Team and was the Community Service Chair for the W. George Allen Chapter of the Black Law Student’s Association. He also worked as a Teaching Assistant for trial advocacy courses, was a member of the Student Ambassador and Recruitment Teams, and was one of two Student Advisors to the College of Law’s Faculty Appointment Committee. He was named “Best Advocate” for the Class of 2017, and he won Book Awards for Trial Practice and Trial Team, and was selected as one of the UF Law Trial Team’s Distinguished Graduates. He also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice with a minor in political science from Troy University.

Mr. Bass was named as a member of Leadership Jacksonville, Class of 2022. He is also recognized by Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America in Insurance Law; Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants; Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants (2022-2023). Mr. Bass was included in The National Black Lawyers Top 40 Under 40, Class of 2019.

Outside of the office, he has been recognized by Jacksonville Area Legal Aid for his commitment to providing pro bono legal services. He is a member of the Florida Bar and the Jacksonville Bar Association. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and kids, playing sports, and going to the beach.


Edward J. Heppt_ Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP._FedBarEdward J. Heppt | Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP

Mr. Heppt focuses his practice on complex commercial litigation and regularly represents clients in state and federal court and in arbitration. He has served as litigation counsel on a wide variety of commercial cases involving, by way of example, claims for breach of contract, specific performance, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, tortious interference with contract and fraudulent conveyances. Mr. Heppt has considerable experience litigating business and contract cases, aviation disputes, employment matters, construction disputes, partnership disputes, intellectual property, securities law, and a wide range of business disputes.

As an aggressive and forward-thinking advocate, his strategic focus centers upon understanding his client’s goals and implementing a strategy that best fits the client’s needs. Mr. Heppt was named a New York Metro “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers 2018-2022.


Patrick J. Cain_ Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP._FedBarPatrick J. Cain | Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP

Patrick J. Cain focuses his practice on representing and counseling employers in all aspects of the employment relationship, with particular emphasis on employment litigation. Pat also offers experience in a wide range of trusts and estates litigation matters.

Pat successfully has litigated a wide range of disputes, in both state and federal court and at both the trial and appellate level, including claims for gender-based discrimination and harassment; age discrimination; disability discrimination; whistleblower; gender orientation discrimination and harassment; wrongful termination; breach of employment contract; and wage and hour disputes. Pat also deals with trade secret and confidential business information issues. Pat counsels clients on day-to-day employment issues including wage and hour, harassment and discrimination investigation and prevention, personnel policies and procedures, and employment separation.

In the area of trusts and estates litigation, Pat has been involved in a wide range of matters, including: will contests; challenges to donative transfers involving undue influence; and challenges to fiduciary conduct. Pat has represented both individual and corporate fiduciaries, as well as individual beneficiaries.

Pat is a member of the Board of Regents, Loyola Marymount University. Pat also has served as president of the Loyola Marymount University Alumni Association, and as chair of the University’s Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts Advisory Board. Pat served for a number of years on the Board of Directors of the Inner City Law Center, a pro bono organization in the Skid Row section of Los Angeles. Pat currently is the President of the Board of Directors of Alpha Sigma Nu, the honor society of Jesuit colleges and universities.


Wm. Parker Sanders_ Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP._FedBarWm. Parker Sanders | Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP

Mr. Sanders has been with Smith Gambrell since law school. He is an experienced complex business litigator, who specializes in antitrust and class-action litigation as well as Hart-Scott-Rodino merger analysis. He has overseen civil and criminal matters, including government investigations and multi-district class actions. He has worked with the Department of Justice, Federal Trade Commission, and state agencies on various matters. He also serves as outside general counsel for several trade associations and manufacturing clients. Over the course of his career, he has represented a range of clients, including airlines, trade associations, manufacturers, food processors, institutions of higher education, and indigents.

Mr. Sanders leads the firm’s Antitrust Practice and has served as co-chair of its Manufacturing Practice. He also is a member of the Antitrust Section of the American Bar Association and the Antitrust and Litigation Sections of the Georgia State Bar. He currently serves as Chair for the Antitrust Section of the Georgia State Bar and as Chair of the General Practice and Trial Section of the Georgia State Bar. He has been appointed to the Criminal Justice Act panel for the Northern District of Georgia.

During his career at SGR, Mr. Sanders has been active in the firm’s pro bono initiatives. As a young associate, he received SGR’s Fellowship to Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Inc., where he represented indigents. Since then, Mr. Sanders has been extensively involved with Atlanta Legal Aid He currently serves on its Board of Directors and as Chair of its Governance Committee.

Mr. Sanders also is a member of Oglethorpe University’s President’s Advisory Council. He has served on the Service Juris Hands on Atlanta Steering Committee; been a board member and a member of the Executive Committee for the Grant Park Conservancy; and a member of the Atlanta Beltline 67 (AB67), which is an advisory board to the Atlanta Beltline Partnership. He has volunteered for an inner-city Boy Scout troop for more than 10 years and served as a member of the Atlanta Area Council’s Phoenix District Committee.

Mr. Sanders completed “Lead Atlanta,” which is Leadership Atlanta’s leadership program for young professionals. He also has been selected several times to the list of Rising Stars for Georgia Super Lawyers, and he has been named to Georgia Trend Magazine’s Legal Elite list and its 40 Under 40 list.


I. Preparing to take a deposition | 2:00pm – 2:20pm

II. Optimizing use of ESI for a commercial deposition | 2:20pm – 2:40pm

III. Rule 30(b)(6) deposition | 2:40pm – 3:00pm

Break | 3:00pm – 3:10pm

IV. Expert witness deposition | 3:10pm – 3:30pm

V. Handling the difficult witness | 3:30pm – 3:50pm

VI. The classic “funnel” approach | 3:50pm – 4:10pm