Trial Advocacy College: Depositions | The American Association For Justice

Trial Advocacy College: Depositions

September 19, 2019 to September 21, 2019
Program Information:

Sponsored by Lisa Blue and Williams Hart 

About the College:

Taking and defending depositions are critical skills for every trial lawyer.  AAJ Education’s Depositions College combines lectures, demonstrations, and small-group, interactive workshops led by experienced faculty to give you practical, proven techniques that you can apply immediately to your practice. You’ll receive individual attention and skill critique in a supportive, responsive environment with colleagues at a similar skill and practice level. You’ll learn:

  • How to create an effective discovery plan
  • Essential deposition techniques including sequencing, exhaustion, and boxing-in
  • How to establish rules and utilize the Miller Mousetrap method
  • Strategies for dealing with a difficult attorney 
  • How to successfully depose the defense expert witness, and more

Registration Fees:

$1,295 for AAJ Members | $1,495 for nonmembers

Online registration has closed. You can still register onsite at the Hilton Chicago, Magnificent Mile Suites.

  • If you are an AAJ member and have been admitted to the bar for ten years or less, you can attend the Depositions College for 25% off. (Does not apply if you have previously attended an AAJ Education seminar or college.) Discount not available online--please call 800-622-1791 to register.
  • Register two or more lawyers from your firm at the same time, and take $70 off the registration fee for each registrant. Discount not available online--please call 800-622-1791 to register.

Not an AAJ member? Call 202-965-3500, ext. 8612 to register.

Hear from Tad Thomas: 


“Whether you have been practicing for twenty minutes or twenty years, you will leave the AAJ Depositions College with new tools to immediately employ to leverage additional value in your cases and sharpen your trial skills.” 
– Nicholas Maxwell, Mankato, MN

“This program was incredibly enlightening! I have learned so many concrete tips to improve my deposition practice. The workshops provided a safe, supportive environment to practice the new skills we’ve been working on. The faculty were all fantastic – smart, clear, and engaging – and I would highly recommend this program to others.” 
– Emily Rock, Bridgeport, CT

“This program should be an essential part of any young attorney’s legal education. I now feel like I can handle the demands of a deposition effectively.” 
– Fabian Rincon, Atlanta, GA

“After attending this program I now have a whole new approach and game plan for depositions. I wish I had taken this course even earlier in my career.”
– Melissa Hague, Philadelphia, PA

“This was an outstanding program taught by an excellent group of very educated faculty. You’ll leave with a much firmer foundation and confidence for both taking and defending your depositions.” 
– Dennis Charles Dukes, Charleston, SC

Contact Education 800.622.1791 | 202.965.3500, ext. 8612 |

Online registration has closed. You can still register onsite at the Hilton Chicago, Magnificent Mile Suites.



Thursday, September 19

Registration and Welcome Networking Breakfast
7:30 - 8:15am

Morning Session
8:15am - 12:15pm
• Developing a Discovery Plan
• Techniques of Exhaustion, Boxing-In, and Summarization
• Workshop on Developing a Discovery Plan
Networking Lunch (provided)
12:15 - 12:30pm

Afternoon Session
12:30 - 6:00pm
• Developing Rules and Standards
• Structuring the Deposition of a Difficult Witness
• Dealing with the Difficult Situation and Attorney
• Workshop on Taking Depositions, Sequencing, Exhaustion, Bracketing, Boxing-In, and Summarization

Networking Reception
6:00 - 7:30pm

Friday, September 20

Networking Breakast
8:15 - 8:45am

Morning Session
8:45am - 12:15pm
• Critical Thinking: Sequencing your Discovery and Anticipating the Defenses
• Structuring Miller Mousetrap
• Deposing Defense Experts
• “Death Star” Depositions: The 30(B)(2) Deposition and 30(B)(6) Depositions

Lunch Break
12:15 - 1:45pm

Afternoon Session
1:45 - 6:00pm
• Deposing the Defense Medical Examiner
• Workshop on Deposition Techniques: Establishing Rules/Miller Mousetrap, and Rhetorical Questions

Saturday, September 21

Networking Breakfast
8:20 - 8:50am

Morning Session
8:50am - 1:00pm
• General Considerations for Witness Deposition Preparation
• Later Use of Depositions at Settlement and Trial
• Workshop on Preparing Client for Depositions

Invited Faculty:

Rick Barrera

Rick Barrera focuses his practice on personal injury, medical negligence, oilfield accidents, and trucking accidents. He graduated from the Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law after careers in grocery retail management and financial advising. Mr. Barrera believes strongly in civic duty and has served in various leadership roles with Rotary International, Midland Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Hispanic National Bar Association. He is licensed to practice law in both Texas and New Mexico. Buckingham Barrera Law Firm has offices in Midland, Texas and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Patricia C. Bobb

Patricia C. Bobb is a principal of the law firm of Patricia C. Bobb & Associates and is of counsel to the law firm of Meyers & Flowers, both located in Chicago, Illinois. Ms. Bobb’s litigation practice focuses on personal injury litigation with an emphasis in medical malpractice. She is a past president of the Chicago Bar Association and a Fellow of the International Society of Barristers. Ms. Bobb is a frequent lecturer on litigation techniques throughout the country, a former member of AAJ’s National College of Advocacy (NCA) Board of Trustees, and a Diplomate of AAJ’s NCA.  She is also a former adjunct professor of trial advocacy for Northwestern University Law School and was appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to serve on the Supreme Court Rules Committee from 1995 to 2003. Ms. Bobb is a Sustaining Member of AAJ, a member of AAJ’s Professional Negligence Section, and is a M CLUB Donor to AAJ PAC. 

Mike Campbell

Mike Campbell represents individuals who have been seriously injured and those that are facing criminal prosecution. He is on the Board of Governors for the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys, is a member of AAJ, and a member of the Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. In addition to his practice, Mr. Campbell volunteers his time assisting high school students in High School Mock Trial and Missouri Ethics’ Bowl, for which his firm is an annual sponsor. The Law Office of Mike Campbell is located in Columbia, Missouri.

Heidi A. DiLorenzo

Heidi A. DiLorenzo is an attorney at Alexander Shunnarah Personal Injury Attorneys in 2012 where she practices personal injury law, focusing on injuries from motor vehicle collisions. She handles personal injuries cases both pre-suit an in litigation as part of the firm’s litigation team. Alexander Shunnarah Personal Injury Attorneys is an AAJ Leaders Forum member and is located in Birmingham, AL.

Katie Hubbard

Katie Hubbard focuses her practice on representing people who have been harmed by negligent parties in complex personal injury cases, with an emphasis on auto accidents, trucking accidents, product liability, and premises liability. Prior to joining Brown & Crouppen, most of her casework were personal injury and mass torts cases fighting for injured people and their families. Ms. Hubbard is on the Board of Governors for AAJ and was selected for AAJ’s inaugural Leadership Academy. She was selected in 2017 and 2018 by the National Trial Lawyers as “Top 40 Under 40” of civil plaintiff lawyers. Ms. Hubbard is based out of Brown & Crouppen’s St. Louis, Missouri office.

John E. Leighton

John E. Leighton is the founding partner of Leighton Law, P.A., where he concentrates his practice in personal injury, medical malpractice, and wrongful death litigation nationwide. Mr. Leighton is recognized as a national expert in the field of premises liability and is the author of Litigating Premises Security Cases (AAJ Press/Thomson West, 2010). He received the Advocate of Justice Award from the National Crime Victim Bar Association for his work representing victims of violent crimes against corporate defendants. He has commented on legal issues on national and local media, including CNN, NBC’s Today Show, and Inside Edition. Mr. Leighton is a past chair of the American Association for Justice’s (AAJ) Inadequate Security Litigation Group, a past chair of AAJ’s Motor Vehicle, Highway and Premises Liability Section, and served on AAJ’s National College of Advocacy Board of Trustees. He is the chairman of the Academy of Trial Advocacy, has been included in “The Best Lawyers in America” continuously since 2008, has been selected as a Top Lawyer in the South Florida Legal Guide for twelve consecutive years, and is listed as one of Florida’s Legal Elite in Florida Trend magazine. He is “AV” rated by Martindale-Hubbell and rated 10/10 by Leighton Law, P.A., an AAJ Leader’s Forum member, has offices in Orlando and Miami, Florida.

Jennifer R. Liakos

Jennifer R. Liakos is the managing partner of the Los Angeles office of Napoli Shkolnik PLLC, where she specializes in mass tort pharmaceutical litigation, as well as personal injury and medical device cases. She is a member of AAJ’s ED Drugs/Melanoma Litigation Group and currently serves on the Science and Discovery Committees for the Abilify Products Liability Litigation (MDL No. 2734) and the Discovery Committee of the Viagra Products Liability Litigation (MDL No. 2691).  In 2003, she was appointed Discovery Chair for the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in the Paxil Products Liability Litigation (MDL No. 1574).  Ms. Liakos has also testified before the Food and Drug Administration Advisory Board on amending the regulations concerning generic manufacturer liability. Ms. Liakos generously donates to AAJ PAC. Napoli Shkolnik, an AAJ Leaders Forum firm, has offices in New York, California, Illinois, Delaware, Florida, New Jersey, Texas and Pennsylvania.

Thomas S. McGrath

Thomas S. McGrath concentrates in construction and consumer law, representing the rights of homeowners in new construction home defects, termite and pest control claims, and real estate fraud.  After graduating from Cumberland Law School, Mr. McGrath was admitted to practice in Alabama, Illinois, and Colorado. He is a frequent lecturer on these subjects and a Diplomate of the AAJ’s  National College of Advocacy (NCA).  Mr. McGrath is a member of the Alabama Association for Justice.  The McGrath Law Firm is located in Huntsville, Alabama.

Christopher O'Brien, course advisor

Christopher J. O’Brien has been a personal injury lawyer for 25 years and concentrates his practice in representing seriously injured people. He is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, has a 10.0 rating, and was listed in the Buffalo Law Journal’s Legal Elite’s Top 10: Best of the Best. He is a past president of the Western Affiliate of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association (NYSTLA), is a past cochair of the National College of Advocacy (NCA) Board of Trustees, and is a Diplomate of the NCA. Mr. O’Brien is a frequent speaker at AAJ and NYSTLA continuing legal education programs, including AAJ’s Ultimate Trial Advocacy College, held annually at Harvard University, and is codirector of Trial Advocacy at SUNY Buffalo Law School. Mr. O’Brien is an AAJ PAC MClub donor. He is a partner at O’Brien & Ford, PC, an AAJ Leaders Forums firm, located in Buffalo, New York.

Tad Thomas, course advisor

Tad Thomas practices solely in the area of civil litigation with his primary focus being in the areas of products liability, motor vehicle, trucking and motorcycle collisions, and nursing home neglect and abuse. Mr. Thomas is a nationally recognized lecturer and has conducted seminars on technology and ethics across the country. He is admitted to practice in Kentucky, Illinois, New York, and numerous federal district and circuit courts of appeals. He is a cum laude graduate of Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University and obtained his undergraduate degree from Georgetown College. Mr. Thomas currently serves as AAJ’s Secretary, and is an active member of AAJ’s Executive Committee, Marketing and Practice Development Committee, AAJ PAC Task Force, Convention Planning Committee, Law Schools Committee, National Finance Council, Membership Oversight Committee, and Legal Affairs Committee. Thomas Law Offices, PLLC, an AAJ Leaders Forum member, has offices in Louisville, Chicago, and Cincinnati.


The room block is now closed, but there may still be rooms available at the Hilton Chicago. Please click here to book a room at the hotel.

For cancellations or alterations to existing reservations, contact the hotel directly. AAJ is not responsible for cancellation or early departure fees.

Hilton Chicago/Magnificent Mile Suites
198 E. Delaware Place
Chicago, IL 60611-1719
Phone: (312) 664-1100

Who should attend:

This trial skills college will benefit plaintiff trial lawyers at all levels of experience. By networking and interacting with experienced trial lawyers in the field, every participant will find answers to even the most challenging issues.

This college is open to both AAJ members (Regular, Life, Sustaining, President’s Club, and Leaders Forum) and non-members and is designed for plaintiff trial lawyers at all levels of experience. For more information about eligibility requirements, please contact AAJ Education directly by calling 800-622-1791. 


Call us. We'll provide you with names and phone numbers of previous attendees of AAJ Education programs who will be pleased to answer your questions. Or, if you prefer to speak with a course advisor or faculty member, we will arrange that as well. Call 800.622.1791 or 202.965.3500, extension 8612.

MCLE/NCA Requirements:

AAJ has filed for MCLE credit in the appropriate jurisdictions.  Registered participants can receive CLE* credits depending on the jurisdiction and will be applied to your participation in AAJ’s professional recognition program. AAJ Education programs are routinely accredited by states requiring continuing legal education. Available CLE/MCLE credits are contingent upon approval from state bars and/or MCLE boards and may vary by jurisdiction. CLE questions may be addressed by calling the CLE Assistant at 800-424-2725, ext. 8612 or 202-965-3500, ext. 8612.​

To learn more about AAJ's Masters of Trial Law professional recognition program call 800.622.1791 or 202.965.3500, ext. 8612, or CLICK HERE. The Masters of Trial Law program recognizes Fellow, Diplomate, and Champion status for AAJ members. To gain MTL credits, submit a certificate of attendance for every seminar, college, and convention you attend.

* Number of credits may vary depending on calculation method used by individual state accreditation agencies. AAJ is a State Bar of California MCLE-approved provider.

Special Assistance:

AAJ Education will make every effort to ensure that its meetings are held in facilities that are fully accessible to persons with mobility disabilities. If you plan to attend our program and need special facilities or assistance relating to a disability, please call 800-622-1791 or 202-965-3500, ext. 8612.

Cancellation Policy:

Cancellations received in writing on or before September 4, 2019, will result in a refund less a 10% administrative charge. Cancellations received in writing September 5-11, 2019 will result in a voucher for 50% of the registration fee, which may be applied toward any AAJ Education college, seminar, or webinar held within one calendar year of the date of issue. Requests for refunds or vouchers received within one week of the program will not be honored. AAJ is not responsible for any room cancellation fees or other travel fees which result from your cancellation. Cancellation requests must be made in writing. Fax or email your cancellation letter to the registrar at 202-625-7084 or

Contribute to the AAJ Education Fund:

Please consider a donation to the AAJ Education Fund 501(c)(3). Contributions support educational programs and activities to preserve and protect the civil justice system. Learn more>>

Terms and Conditions:

The American Association for Justice reserves the right to, in its sole discretion, refuse entrance to the event and/or remove any individual from the event whose behavior is disruptive and/or is not consistent with the character and purpose of the event. All American Association for Justice badges are the property of the American Association for Justice and must be returned upon request.

By registering for this AAJ Education program, you agree to receive electronic, written, and telephonic communication from AAJ staff regarding the program and to have your name, firm, city, and state included on the participant and exhibitor/sponsor roster.  AAJ may also need to contact you to service your membership record or to provide you with information about your membership, products and services, and advocacy and legislative updates.  By providing your contact information, including phone number, fax number, and email address, you consent and give permission for AAJ to contact you by any of those means, which may include calls to your mobile phone, faxes, or emails. You may contact AAJ at any time to change your preferences.

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