May 27, 2024

Insider Tips for Succeeding in Deposition

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Insider Tips for Succeeding in Deposition
Insider Tips for Succeeding in Deposition (Image Source)

A deposition is a formal, legal, questions-and-answer session held in an office, not a courtroom, where a witness is invited to give an account of what they know about a case. This session is usually recorded, and the witness speaks under oath. The information provided in this session can be used in court if necessary. Mind you, you can be invited for a deposition even though you’re not directly involved in the case.

You must be prepared for a deposition if you’re given a notice to attend one, as your testimony can impact the outcome of the case. Attending without an understanding of the implications can be disastrous, especially if you are a direct party to the case. To ensure you have a successful deposition, this article will provide important tips you need to practice.

Prepare

This cannot be overstated so that you don’t end up making a mess of things. One of the things you need to do once you get a notice is to tell your lawyer. Getting an attorney doesn’t mean you’re guilty or anything of the sort. Instead, your lawyer is there to defend and protect your rights during the deposition.

Therefore, have a preparation session with them and ask them to provide you with sample questions and expected topics you might have to deal with in the real session. They should guide you on how to answer difficult questions you might face. If it is permitted and you’ve been provided with the lawsuit documents, both of you can review them to get relevant information about the case.

If you are concerned about anything, ensure that you let your attorney know. Depositions are usually stenograph recorded; however, some might be video recorded.

In such a case, plan what you will wear and ensure it is formal. During the deposition, ensure that you maintain eye contact with the interviewer. Lastly, pay attention to your body language, lest you say something and mean the opposite with your body language. All these are assessed during the Q&A session.

Do Not Lie

Don’t assume that it is not a court, so you can lie or twist the truth. You’ll be placed under oath by the court reporter before you begin answering questions. Therefore, it is expected that you speak truthfully. Anything other than that can lead to perjury penalties.

Always Consider the Transcript

As we said, most of the recordings in this session use a stenograph rather than a video recording. This is usually captured by the court reporter, and the purpose of the recording is to capture an accurate account of what you say. However, the reporter would find it difficult to record unclear responses and head nods in the report.

Since the report is only based on your words, the reader assessing the report cannot determine the length you need to answer a question. They cannot also know if the question shocked you or made you afraid, and you needed time to process the question. You can read this article to learn how to keep a straight face. Therefore, never be in haste to answer a question, but patiently answer each question logically and carefully.

Do Not Answer More Than the Question Asked

One mistake people make during a deposition is to answer more than the question they are asked. Only answer the questions you are asked, and nothing more. Ask for a rephrasing of a question if you don’t understand it.

Don’t be chatty; it’s not a discussion; it’s an interrogation. Stay alert, and don’t allow the examiner to make you say what you didn’t intend to. Answer only the questions asked, and get out!

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