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gavel-1238036-300x201A deposition is a discovery tool used by attorneys to compel witnesses and opposing parties to answer questions under oath.  Generally, they should be used for three purposes: to gather information, to gain admissions and to test out theories of the case.  As a former prosecutor and a business litigator, I have had the opportunity to witness attorneys who were very skilled at taking depositions, but most were not.  When an attorney takes a great deposition, the case and facts become more clear and, as a result, a favorable and faster outcome is likely to occur.  In the best circumstances, the deposition of a party opponent or a key witness is often where the opposing party sees their case fall apart.  This occurs if an attorney’s deposition reveals useful information, gains admissions and successfully undermines (or bolsters) a witness’ credibility as well as the attorney’s theory of the case.

law-education-series-2-1467427-300x225I recently had a business contracts case where we represented a business seeking recourse for the breach of a business contract.  The defendant’s main defense was that it was a third party who signed the contract, not the defendant.  Throughout the course of the deposition, I gained a number of admissions from the defendant which (a) undermined the factual credibility of her defenses; and, (b) gained testimony which supported one of our alternate theories of the case – that the third party had her authority to execute the document on her behalf and that it was reasonable for my client to rely upon this apparent authority; and, (c) gained information about the existence of other documents which supported my client’s positions.  The case settled at the deposition table for full damages plus my client’s attorney’s fees, due to the fact that the opposing party realized in the deposition that we were very likely to win at trial.

The groundwork for making a deposition successful is laid long before the day of the deposition.  Here are some deposition preparation practices which have helped me have success on the day of the deposition:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABrick Business Law, P.A. was named as the 9th best “Small Business Professional Service” Provider in the entire State of Florida by Startup Savant, a resource guide for small businesses.  The firm was the top law firm in the Tampa Bay Area to appear on the list, which includes multiple categories of top resources for business owners, entrepreneurs and aspiring start-ups.

The list includes a total of 152 professionals, organizations and service providers which cater to small businesses throughout the State of Florida.  The honor was bestowed upon Brick Business Law in only its first year of service.  The firm was notified of the distinction on April 20th by way of an e-mail congratulations from Startup Savant founder Ryan James.

Brick Business Law is a Tampa Bay Area law firm which focuses on serving businesses’ legal needs in and around the Tampa Bay Area. The Firm’s practice areas include business consulting services (such as reviewing and drafting contracts or providing risk mitigation advice) as well as business litigation.

computer-keyboard-1188763There are some common sense ways for small businesses to minimize the threat of employee theft of trade secrets.  This is the second in a three-part series on the subject.  The first post, on using HR policies to protect trade secrets can be found here. Today’s post deals with the employer’s use and implementation of technology to protect its data, trade secrets or other intellectual property.

Most businesses use some form of basic technology-based security solutions using their existing systems and software.  For instance, if the trade secret is a computer-stored source code, a basic protection is to regulate access to it by requiring and assigning unique user names and passwords to each employee.  A company may also choose to maintain electronic access records of computer logs to be able to isolate and determine who accesses their network and when.  Most businesses also use some type of firewall to protect the business’ network or even maintain their trade secrets on separate servers.

Businesses should also consider providing technology solutions to employees so that they do not use unauthorized procedures to assist them in completing their work.  For instance, when file sharing by e-mail becomes difficult due to data size restrictions, employees may use a third-party service such as dropbox to share restricted company data with an intended or authorized recipient.  While the employee may have no bad intention, the sharing of the data in this way may permit unauthorized access, storage and sharing of the company’s trade secrets. For this reason, businesses should proactively implement regulated and authorized technology solutions to solve common problems encountered by employees who access protected data.