What is a deposition and why does it matter?
When it comes to a deposition, understanding what you’re dealing with is the key to success. Does that make sense? A good deposition can help legal professionals win their cases. A good deposition can help a case, while a bad one will hurt it. We’ve gathered up the basics of this topic so that you can understand it more fully and implement it into your professional life. Read on to find out more!
Understanding the Basics of Deposition
A deposition is a tool used by attorneys and can be a useful ally to any case strategy. Depositions are gathered in the conduct discovery phase. What this does is it allows the legal professionals involved to put together a profile of facts and testimonies that are directly relevant to their current case. These depositions are formal investigations. Each witness that is called will be questioned under oath, and it’s important that these witnesses tell the truth.
Depositions are recorded. Everything that is asked and everything that is formally answered is taken down by a court reporter into a written transcript. This transcript will be used as both an official record of the case and a reference for analysis, so it’s both very important and very helpful to both sides. One of the purposes of doing a deposition is to put together a coherent narrative of events. Since it’s this narrative that will play a big part in the case strategy, it’s a valuable part of the process.
Another reason why depositions are so important is that they are a kind of trial run before ‘the real thing’. A deposition is kind of like a practice run that allows the witness to review their testimony in case they need to present it in court. Of course, the main point of a deposition is for the opposing legal counsel to conduct an investigation. They’ll be trying to get ready for the witness’s testimony and analyze the events and overall case so that they can capitalize on inconsistencies later. For witnesses, this means that a consistent story is vital.
As an attorney, it’s best to have witnesses that are offering a consistent story. Be sure to remind the witness to speak not only clearly when answering questions, but slowly and mindfully. Also advise them to always let the attorney complete their questions before they answer– never cut them off! Being honest is the best way to get through a deposition because the story never changes. Remind them that saying they do not know to an answer is okay if that’s the truth. They can also ask the question to be repeated or clarified if the question is confusing or vague.