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Summary Judgment Evidence: Recognizing, Introducing, and Curing Evidence in Inadmissible Form

Strategies to Avoid Conflating the Evidentiary Standard on Summary Judgment With the Evidentiary Standard at Trial

Recording of a 90-minute CLE video webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Recorded event now available

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This CLE webinar will discuss what practitioners should know about the unique and overlooked evidentiary standards on summary judgment if they want to give themselves--and their clients--the best chance of prevailing at the summary judgment stage. The program will also review analogous evidentiary issues that frequently arise in bench trials.


Serious consequences flow from failing to recognize or in underestimating that the evidentiary standards governing summary judgment are not the same as those that govern at trial. Practitioners who conflate these separate standards may keep failing to introduce relevant material, raise meritless objections, routinely develop distorted views of the client's odds at the summary judgment stage, and lose credibility with the court.

When reviewing the evidence at summary judgment, courts are not called upon to determine if the proffered evidence is admissible under the Federal Rules of Evidence. Since 2010, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c) authorizes federal trial judges to consider any materials in the record at summary judgment unless those materials "cannot be presented in a form that would be admissible in evidence." Essentially, at summary judgment, a court can rely on anything if it is capable of being put into admissible form at trial, which may open up a world of opportunity.

The standard also creates concerns over objecting to material offered by opposing counsel, and many of these issues present in bench trials.

Listen as this premier panel of litigators reviews the difference between evidentiary standards at summary judgment and those at trial, discusses how underestimating those differences can prevent success at summary judgment, and offers strategies for maximizing those differences for the benefit of the client.



  1. Evidentiary standards at trial
  2. Evidentiary standards at summary judgment stage
  3. Interplay between evidentiary standards and burdens of proof
  4. Authentication and hearsay issues
    1. Depositions
    2. Affidavits, declarations, and exhibits
    3. Expert testimony
    4. Inferences
  5. Objection strategies
  6. Evidentiary issues in bench trials


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • Why is the evidentiary standard different at summary judgment?
  • What types of "inadmissible" issues can and cannot be corrected before trial?
  • How does the standard affect the use of affidavits at summary judgment?
  • What evidentiary standards apply at bench trials?


DeWilde, Kristen
Kristen DeWilde

Williams & Connolly

Ms. DeWilde earned her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she was a Levy Scholar and...  |  Read More

McNichols, John
John McNichols

Williams & Connolly

Mr. McNichols focuses his practice in trial litigation, with emphasis in trade secret disputes involving...  |  Read More

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