Bar News - November 17, 2006
Lawyers in Training: Webster Scholars Get “Hands-on” Experience with Depositions
By: Beverly Rorick
In July of 2005, the NH Supreme Court initiated the Daniel Webster Scholars Honors Program for Franklin Pierce Law Center in Concord. A two-year practice-based alternative to the usual bar examination, the program is led by John B. Garvey, an experienced attorney who left private practice to be its director. It is a collaborative effort of the NH Supreme Court, the NH Board of Bar Examiners, the NH Bar Association and Franklin Pierce Law Center and takes place during the last two years of law school. The program’s aim is to develop “client-ready” graduates by its conclusion—and it recently provided the students with some specialized training in taking depositions.
“We’re constantly trying to get new ideas for the Webster Scholars—and depositions are a big part of pre-trial advocacy,” explained Garvey. “A group composed of the 15 Webster Scholars and 15 third-year law students took part in this special seminar. We called upon court reporting firms for volunteers and the response was great. Numerous stenographers gave their time to help the students get some hands-on experience.” (See list below.)
John B. Garvey discusses the deposition seminar with Webster Scholars Josh Wyatt and Ashley Hulse.
Sidney Wong and Jennifer Chase, third-year students at Franklin Pierce, attended the deposition seminar.
Liza Dubois, court stenographer, with third year student Shannan deJesus.
Lynda Vetter, court stenographer, at the Webster Scholar's deposition seminar and Bryan Krol, a third-year student at Franklin Pierce.
Textbooks Come Alive
The whole class watched the first deposition, in which both sides (or firms) were represented. Then the students separated into smaller groups for more active individual participation. Said Ashley Hulse, a Webster Scholar, “We are using all the practical skills we have learned: interviewing, taking interrogatories—this experience has brought our textbooks alive.”
Lynda Vetter from Avicore Reporting in Manchester, who has been a court stenographer for over 20 years, said she was glad to have the chance to give something back to the community. “We don’t usually have much interaction with the public,” she said. “But this has been a wonderful experience—and I think the students are doing an excellent job. I’m very impressed with the background teaching for this class.”
Liza Dubois, also from Avicore, thought the students were doing a great job—”Just like the real thing, only better-behaved. They don’t get unruly as people do sometimes in ‘real’ depositions,” she laughed.
Two of the third-year students taking part, Sidney Wong and Jennifer Chase, spoke enthusiastically of the experience. Said Wong, “It was a fantastic class—a chance to put into practice what we’ve learned.” Chase called it a “real-world experience, dove-tailing with our next class in summary judgment.”
Another of the Scholars, Josh Wyatt, commented, “This has been a very busy semester, learning—and now using the things we’ve learned on this labor case—and actually dealing with a federal statute.”
Getting Over the “Jitters”
“The students’ learning curve has decreased dramatically because of this deposition class,” said Garvey. “The students had video-training first and looked at depositions online—but this seminar has given them a taste of the actual experience—let them get the ‘jitters’ and get over them—and go on to do the job.”
This first group of Webster Scholars is composed of 15 students whose selection was based on their academic, professional and interpersonal strengths. They will graduate with their class in 2008, after having been exposed to courses in various fields of practice. Scholars who successfully complete the program will be sworn into the New Hampshire Bar on the day of their graduation.
The following is a list of the stenographers who so graciously gave their time to the program:
Liza Dubois of Avicore Reporting and VideoConferencing
Karen Pomeroy of Avicore
Lynda Vetter of Avicore
Lynda Eldrid of Bragan Reporting Associates, Inc.
Michelle McGirr of Bragan
Michelle Perrier-Cole of Bragan
Maureen May of Connelly Reporting & Video Services, Inc.