First Day Checklist

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Eighteen steps to write down on your tiny notepad to make sure you don’t miss a thing!


1. Plan to arrive 30 minutes early at least.

2. Turn off phone, if on.

3. Hook up all your equipment. Laptop has four things that I look to make sure are there before I try to start a file: headphone in, mic in, key in, USB cord in. Start file.

4. Name file: date/witlastname/job#.

5. Ask wit to verify that name is spelled correctly on notice (or ask to take a pic of notice if not in your possession).

6. Exchange business cards with attorneys. If they don’t have one, gather their name/firm from notice (on second or third page).

7. Set up job dictionary. All propers on notice need to be in job dictionary in one stroke, preferably. Input speaker ID’s.

8. Label exhibit stickers 1-9.

9. Turn on digital recorder.

10. Swear in witness.

DURING (keep up with exhibit numbers):

11. Get in PARENTHETICALS. Mainly, break, exhibit, sworn/sworn.

12. Mark where I’ll need to look up all SPELLINGS with S-Z.

13. Be prepared for READBACK, esp after breaks.

AFTER depo concludes:

14. Ask “read/sign?” if they didn’t cover it.

15. Would you like a copy? If yes, regular delivery fine?

16. Make sure you asked wit for all spellings. (If it’s very technical, ask for email/phone of expert wit.)

17. Make sure you get all original exhibits.

18. Thank the attorneys. (Nice touch)


19. Make note of any extra expenses (food in town? parking?). I write down date, mileage. Sometimes I’ll put estimate of pages or a short description of case name.

Note: (If you work for multiple firms, you will need to keep more detailed records like case name, lawyers, firm you worked for. As you advance into your second/third year, you’ll also need to keep records of which jobs were realtime and which jobs you paid for scoping on.)


Don’t be afraid to interrupt if you did not hear or understand something.

Make sure you let your firm know if you have an expedite.

Make sure you have your firm’s phone # and your software’s phone # in your cell if you get lost or have software problems.

Look up on Google maps directions and print them, unless you know where it is (even if you have GPS).

Look at Google Images to see what the building looks like.

Lay out clothes the night prior. Gather everything by door, esp water/jacket.

Eat a little something before a depo; you never know how long it will go.

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