When dealing with a complex case, there’s always a chance you’ll find yourself in a drawn-out deposition. Although deposition proceedings typically last a few hours, it is not uncommon for some cases to go on for days and even weeks.
Therefore, if you’re looking to safeguard your clients’ interests, it helps to prepare them adequately for what might be a series of meetings. Learning how to manage extended deposition proceedings is an invaluable skill that will come in handy during some of the most crucial cases in your career.
Below are key things you can do to help you better prepare for and manage lengthy depositions:
Prepare Your Client and Witness Psychologically
When going into any deposition, it is crucial to be aware of your clients’ personalities and how they handle stressful situations. As you might already know, depositions can be pretty stressful and, in most cases, will elicit intense emotions such as anxiety, rage, and fear.
There is also a high likelihood that the opposing parties will try to trigger negative feelings in your client to provoke a reaction, which they can then use to build a case against you.
For this reason, preparing your clients and witnesses beforehand is critical as it helps them remain calm even when confronted with an uncomfortable line of questioning by the opposing counsel. In addition, conducting deposition simulations with your clients and witnesses allows you to recognize their emotional triggers and devise strategies to mitigate them if they arise during the actual deposition hearings.
Prepare A Detailed Line Of Questioning
Regardless of the deposition you’re handling; you will likely need to present a high degree of evidence supporting your case.
As such, you should set aside time and resources to prepare a convincing line of questioning that bolsters your argument or debunks the position of the opposing attorney.
Having a thorough understanding of a topic relevant to the deposition can save you a lot of time in the long run since you won’t have to conduct extensive research during the hearing.
The most brilliant attorneys enter a deposition with a clear and comprehensive grasp of what will be addressed, from industry jargon and standard processes to contract specifics and the precise role and expertise of each witness that is called to the stand.
For this reason, you should conduct extensive research pertinent to the case you’re working on before going into any deposition hearing.
Organize Your Questions
While you may be tempted to ask any questions that spring to mind, you should prioritize your inquiries and limit your questions to only those that will assist you in establishing the facts of the case.
It’s easy to get off course during a lengthy deposition and travel down a route that won’t help you support your case. You may add questions based on the answers you obtain as the deposition proceeds. However, unless these changes significantly impact the case, it’s best to go as close to your initial strategy as possible.
Familiarize Yourself With Court Reporting and The Technologies Used
A certified court reporter is a neutral third party who records the material delivered by the counsel and witnesses during the deposition.
When deciding how to prepare for and handle a lengthy deposition, it’s a good idea to learn as much as you can about the vocabulary and technologies that the reporter will be using.
It would be best if you were also prepared to carefully go over the transcripts, video, and other materials gathered during the deposition for any errors in recording or labeling.
It’s easy to assume that all court reporters and legal videographers are flawless and never make errors. However, the reality is that we are all human, and mistakes are bound to happen at some point. So, it is better to be prepared in advance for any unforeseen eventualities.
Work Out Better Schedules For Long Depositions
In a perfect world, deposition hearings would be held daily until a case is finalized. Unfortunately, however, this doesn’t typically happen in our world.
When preparing for a lengthy deposition, you’ll need to juggle and strike a balance between your schedule, the schedules of your clients and witnesses, and the schedule of the court reporter and opposing counsel.
For this reason, negotiating a deposition schedule that is as short and compact as possible should always be your objective. This speeds up the procedure, decreases stress, and keeps the financial impact minimum.
Furthermore, it eliminates the possibility of any contradictory or dishonest testimonies, which might undermine your case.
While lengthy depositions can be pretty stressful, preparing adequately beforehand will keep you grounded during the hearings. So, before going into potentially drawn-out deposition proceedings, make sure you’ve done your research on the case, prepare your questions, and prep your clients and witnesses for any unforeseen events that may arise during the hearing.