The excellent article about “the usual stipulations” by The Young Lawyer Editorial Board in the Feb. 22 edition of The Legal Intelligencer reminded me of an article written by Jake Hart 35 years ago, titled “Depositions,” for The Shingle, the predecessor to The Philadelphia Lawyer. In that article, Hart observed, “Like a religious service, the deposition begins with prayers and incantations. Like the congregation at a religious service, most of us do not really care what these prayers and incantations mean. Besides, it would be embarrassing to admit that we also do not know what they mean. Take, for example, the usual stipulations. The court reporter mumbles something about the usual stipulations and we mumble assent. … Maybe the usual stipulations really means questions must be asked from a reclining position and that, at the end of each answer, the interrogator must say, [‘Fly, Eagles, fly.’]”

The Feb. 22 article suggests that many litigators still do not know the meaning or implications of “the usual stipulations.”