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Deposition Academy - Naperville
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The Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel is pleased to present the Deposition Academy designed specifically for defense counsel. The Deposition Academy is an excellent means of providing “on your feet” experience for lawyers who have limited deposition experience or for those who would like to refine their deposition skills.

 Export to Your Calendar 10/4/2019
When: October 4, 2019
From 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Where: NIU Naperville Conference Center
1120 E. Diehl Road
Naperville, Illinois  60563
United States
Contact: Sandra Wulf

Online registration is available until: 10/31/2019
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We are pleased to present the IDC Deposition Academy designed specifically for Illinois defense counsel. Deposition Academy attendees will be teamed with leaders in the Illinois defense community for an intensive practical education in the skills and techniques key to developing and maintaining a successful Illinois defense practice. The IDC Deposition Academy is an excellent means of providing “on your feet” experience for lawyers who have limited deposition experience or for those who would like to refine their deposition skills. Whether you’ve never taken a deposition or you’ve taken many, the IDC Deposition Academy will tailor your group to your experience level so that you come away with tips, techniques and pointers to help you succeed when taking depositions.

What to Expect

The Deposition Academy is an intensive program, designed to give personal attention and an exceptional education in deposition techniques. Attendees will be assigned to groups of four and groups will be led by an experienced Illinois defense attorney. Each student will receive case materials prior to the Academy and will then perform depositions and receive individualized break out instruction on taking and defending depositions including expert depositions based upon “real” case discovery materials.

Registration Information

Registration is $175 for IDC members ($275 for non-members). Enrollment for the Academy is limited to 28 with registration being accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. To guarantee that attendees receive their Academy materials with ample time to prepare for the Academy, and due to the limited enrollment of attendees, early registration is highly recommended.

Registrations may be transferred to another registrant with notice. Registration fee refunds must be requested in writing and will be made according to the following schedule:

  • 100% Refund 60 or more days before Academy;

  • 50% Refund 30-59 days before Academy;

  • No Refund 0-29 days before Academy 

Continuing Legal Education

We will apply for the following CLE credit for this program:

  • Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa 7.25

  • Missouri and Wisconsin 8.75


The 2019 IDC Deposition Academy will be offered in two locations – Collinsville and Naperville. IDC will host its Naperville Academy on Friday, October 4, 2019 at the NIU Naperville Conference Center, 1120 East Diehl Road, Naperville. The Collinsville Academy will be held Friday, October 11 at the Doubletree by Hilton Collinsville-St. Louis, 1000 Eastport Plaza Drive, Collinsville.


 8:00 - 8:10 a.m.

Welcome & Introductions

 8:10 - 8:30 a.m.

Faculty Presentation: Basics of Depositions
This presentation will include the preliminary instructions, reservation of signature, reservation of rights, and dealing with the time constraints of depositions.

 8:30 - 8:45 a.m.

Faculty Presentation: Deposition Checklists
In this presentation, our faculty will outline the steps for effectively preparing and conducting a deposition.

 8:45 - 9:05 a.m.

Faculty Presentation: Objections
This presentation will delve into the objections that counsel may raise during a deposition, how to respond to those objections and when to end a deposition and/or contact a judge for an immediate ruling.

 9:05 - 9:25 a.m.

Faculty Presentation: Personnel & Technology
In this presentation, our faculty will discuss the use of court reporters, interpreters, and video in furtherance of the deposition.

 9:25 - 11:25 a.m.

Breakout Session: Deposition of a Plaintiff
In this small group breakout session, Academy students will have the opportunity to practice deposing plaintiffs.

 11:25 - 11:40 a.m.

Faculty Presentation: Expert Witnesses
This presentation will cover the do's and don’ts of expert witnesses, whether retained or opposition.

 11:40 a.m. - 12:40 p.m.


 12:40 - 2:00 p.m.

Breakout Session: Deposition of an Expert
During this breakout session, Academy students will be given the opportunity practice deposing expert witnesses.

 2:00 - 2:15 p.m.

Faculty Presentation: Deposition Strategies
This presentation will cover the strategies that counsel should consider when in federal and state court.

 2:15 - 2:30 p.m.

Faculty Presentation: Witness Preparation   
In this program, our faculty will show students the in’s and out’s of preparing witness. 

 2:30 - 4:30 p.m.

Breakout Session: Preparation for Deposition and Production of Defendant at Deposition
During this breakout session, Academy students will be given the opportunity practice deposing defendants.

Featured Speakers

James D. Ahern is a partner in the Cassiday Schade, LLP Chicago office and has dedicated his career to the defense of medical malpractice cases. Mr. Ahern is also co-chair of the firm's Associate Training and Development program. He is involved in all aspects of case handling; from discovery through trial through the appeal. He has served as both first and second chair in trials involving various medical specialties including neonatology, pathology, emergency medicine, orthopedics, otolaryngology, ENT medicine, and family practice. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from Marquette University in 1977 and his Juris Doctorate from the John Marshall Law School in 1989.

Denise Baker-Seal is a partner in the Belleville, Illinois law firm of Brown & James, P.C. Her practice has focused on the defense of employment matters and catastrophic personal injury cases. She serves as Co-Chair of the Firm's Employment Law Group. Ms. Baker-Seal has experience representing clients in state and federal courts, the EEOC, and state and local administrative agencies. She also serves as an arbitrator in the mandatory arbitration programs in St. Clair and Madison Counties. Prior to entering private practice, Ms. Baker-Seal served as the Judicial Law Clerk to the Honorable Lewis M. Blanton, U.S. Magistrate Judge. A graduate of Millikin University and Northeastern University School of Law, Ms. Baker-Seal is admitted to the bars of Illinois and Missouri and all federal courts in Illinois. 

Laura K. Beasley is a member of Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice LLC in Belleville. Ms. Beasley focuses her practice in the areas of manufacturing, insurance, transportation, pharmaceuticals, and medical device. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Geography in 1996 from Austin Peay University and her law degree from Southern Illinois University School in 2001. She is a member of several bar associations and currently serves as First Vice President of the IDC Board of Directors. She is licensed to practice in both Illinois and Missouri state and federal courts.

Brian T. Henry is an equity partner of Pretzel & Stouffer, Chartered. While the majority of his trials have been on behalf of hospitals or medical professionals, he has tried lawsuits in several other areas, including product liability, premises liability, false imprisonment and commercial litigation. Brian has for many years taught trial techniques to other attorneys. He has been a faculty instructor on more than 20 occasions at the trial and deposition academies sponsored by the IDC. He instructed on trial practice techniques as a faculty member at the 2001 Trial Academy of the International Association of Defense Counsel. In 2002, Mr. Henry was inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, one of the premier legal associations in North America.

Nicole D. Milos is a partner with Cremer, Spina, Shaughnessy, Jansen & Siegert, LLC, where her practice focuses in the areas of General Tort Litigation, Premises Liability, Product Liability, Commercial Litigation actions, Construction Litigation, Employers’ Liability, Professional Liability, Insurance Coverage claims and civil appeals. She was admitted to the Illinois Bar in 2001 and is admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois and the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana. She currently serves as the IDC President Elect.

Bradley C. Nahrstadt is a partner of Lipe Lyons Murphy Nahrstadt & Pontikis Ltd., and focuses his practice on defending product liability, professional liability, premises liability, insurance coverage and bad faith and commercial matters in state and federal courts around the country, and also has handled a number of matters at the appellate level. Mr. Nahrstadt received his J.D., cum laude, in 1992 from the University of Illinois College of Law. He has served as an adjunct professor of trial advocacy at DePaul University College of Law and for several years taught a course on litigation as part of the paralegal studies program at the College of Lake County. Mr. Nahrstadt is active in numerous professional organizations and is the Immediate Past President of the IDC.

Gregory W. Odom, a Partner in the Edwardsville office of HepleBroom LLC, focuses his practice on commercial, premises liability, toxic tort, and product liability litigation. Mr. Odom has represented individuals, local businesses, and Fortune 500 companies in Illinois and Missouri state and federal courts. He has successfully tried multiple cases to verdict and has successfully argued before the Illinois Court of Appeals. Mr. Odom received his B.A. from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale in 2005 and his J.D. from Southern Illinois University in 2008. He is Chair of the IDC Toxic Tort Law Committee and a member of the IDC Board of Directors. In addition to his membership in the IDC, Mr. Odom is a member of the Madison County and St. Clair County Bar Associations.

Tracy Stevenson of the Law Offices of Tracy E. Stevenson, P.C. in Chicago focuses her litigation practice on medical malpractice defense of physicians and hospitals. Tracy has actively assisted municipal and governmental agencies in litigation including breach of contract and defense tort claims pursuant to the tort immunity act. Tracy has tried over 30 cases to jury verdict in Federal and State Courts in Illinois, Florida, Louisiana and other jurisdictions. Outside her work in the courtroom, Tracy represents litigants during arbitration/mediation, and also acts as a neutral. She was a regular columnist for the IDC Quarterly, for over 10 years, and has written and published multiple articles in trade magazines. Further, Tracy is an adjunct professor at John Marshall Law School and chairs the Tri-State North Central Region Trial Academy and the IDC Deposition Academy.
Patrick W. Stufflebeam is a partner in the St. Louis Metro Office of Tressler LLP. He concentrates his practice on the defense of civil litigation including toxic tort (asbestos, talc, and benzene), premises liability, product liability, commercial litigation, and insurance coverage issues. Patrick also maintains a practice in assisting individuals and businesses with cybersecurity and privacy issues, corporate formation, reorganization, acquisition, and contracts. Patrick obtained his law degree from Saint Louis University School of Law after graduating from the Western Illinois University. He is a member of the Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel (twice elected Director, 2011-2017), Madison County Bar Association, International Association of Privacy Professionals, and the Claims and Litigation Management Alliance. Patrick holds an AV Preeminent® rating with Martindale-Hubbell and was named a 2018 Leading Lawyer by Leading Lawyers, Products Liability Defense and Toxic Torts Defense.

Tori Walls is a partner with Rynearson Suess Schnurbusch & Champion in Edwardsville. As a litigator, Tori has tried 12 civil jury trials to verdict in Madison and St. Clair Counties in Illinois. Tori has also successfully briefed and argued before the 5th District Appellate Court of Illinois. Tori was admitted to the Illinois Bar in 2003, the Missouri Bar in 2004 and admitted to practice generally before the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois in 2003. She spent the first 15 years of her legal career as a litigator with a defense firm in Edwardsville. She was named an Emerging Lawyer in 2015, 2016 and 2017 and was named a Leading Lawyer in 2018 and 2019, as recommended by her peers. Tori attended Illinois College where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in English Literature in 2000. She continued her education at the Southern Illinois University-Carbondale School of Law, earning her Juris Doctor degree in 2003.

Special Thanks to Our Deposition Academy Sponsors!





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