Depositions are serious matters. Since this discovery portion can either be utilized to build or to tear down your case, it must be handled properly. By having certain aspects in place and knowing what to expect, you can ensure that the process goes smoothly and that it works in your favor. As you prepare for your first deposition there are a few key things that you should know and implement to complete the procedure successfully.
1. Research the Other Lawyer
It has been said that the best offense is a good defense. Though this saying is usually shared in reference to sports, it can be applied in this instance as well. You need to know your opponent, or the other lawyer. By doing some research you can learn about them, uncover their patters and style, as well as predict their approach to the particular case that you are working. This can give you a leg up in your preparation for the case, as well as in your deposition. If you know how they will operate, you can be strategic in how conduct your deposition in order to strengthen your argument.
2. There are Strong Benefits in Videotaping
Videotaping the deposition can prove to be essential in some cases. There are a few different benefits that you can gain from it. The most obvious advantage is having that record to be able to go back to as additional point of reference when building and presenting your case. It can also aid in capturing the witnesses’ true demeanor and tone, which can speak volumes to their character and credibility. Another benefit that may not seem as obvious but could make a huge difference is that if the other lawyer is difficult or abrasive, having the deposition videotaped can aid in reducing those tendencies.
3. Understand and Abide by the Set Stipulations
Every jurisdiction has its own set of stipulations and rules that you must abide by. Acting outside of these confines can negatively affect your case. Make sure that you research and abide by the particular stipulations of the jurisdiction in which you are operating, especially if you are new to or are not as familiar with the jurisdiction. This will help to ensure that your discovery process is carried out correctly and remains admissible in court. Also, make sure that you utilize the proper terminology and protocol for questioning. Though this is questioning before trial, it does still require certain trial elements to make sure it cohesively connects with and contributes to your case.
4. Properly Listen and Talk to the Witness
Just as with any conversation, it is important that you not only speak, and speak clearly, but that you listen to the other party. Remember, you are in control of the deposition, so you determine how structured and in-depth it goes. If you do not properly listen to the witness, you could miss some crucial moments where more exploration could lead to a breakthrough in your case. On the contrary, if you are not completely present in the moment you may not realize when the witness is not fully answering the questions, which could leave gaps in the testimony that could potentially hurt your case in the long run. In the same manner, you must make sure that you are being as clear and concise as possible when questioning the witness, not only so that the witness fully understands what you are asking to answer your questions, but also so that the line and manner of questioning aid your case.
5. Make Sure You Get a Clean Deposition Transcript
Even if you have all of the other elements in place, your hard work could go down the drain with a faulty transcript. You want to make sure that your deposition transcript is clear and accurate, and that it also follows all of the set regulations. The best way to ensure this is to secure professional court reporting services and to discuss your desires and expectations beforehand. This way everyone has a clear expectation of what’s expected and you will be most likely to receive the quality deposition that you desire.
You ought to make sure that you prepare the best deposition possible. To do so, it is important that you keep a few things in mind. By researching the other lawyer and set stipulations in the jurisdiction, videotaping the deposition, properly communicating with the witness, and ensuring that you get a clean transcript, you will be sure to have a successful deposition from the start.