When I was sent out to attend my first deposition, I had a general idea of how everything was supposed to proceed. Unfortunately, I was immediately knocked off my game when prior to the commencement of the deposition all the lawyers agreed to the “usual stipulations.” Not wanting to look like an inexperienced newbie, I agreed. I was also afraid to ask anyone in my office as to what the usual stipulations were let alone whether or not I did the right thing in stipulating. It took me many depositions later to confidently demand that I wanted the stipulations on the record. I didn’t make the request because it was the right thing to do, it was because I could finally learn what the usual stipulations were.
On her CEB Blog, Julie Brook does a wonderful job explaining what are the usual stipulations and whether or not you should stipulate. Julie points out that the Code of Civil Procedure covers many of the usual stipulations, so there is no need to stipulate. She also advises that you should never stipulate without putting the specific stipulations on the record. And, finally, she outlines the stipulations that you should consider.
Even if you are not a young lawyer, I highly recommend that you read her blog titled “So Stipulated” before you go to your next deposition.