Your Deposition Checklist

July 9, 2018 5:15 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Your performance at a deposition can have a massive influence on your ability to win your case. Therefore, it’s important to come into a deposition as prepared as possible. There will be dozens of questions you’ll want to have answered, but that doesn’t mean you need to stick to a script for the entire deposition—you should be prepared to deviate and improvise based on your witness’s answers and behavior, and take on new lines of questioning as needed.

The best way to ensure you address everything you want to cover is to create a checklist ahead of time. This will help you better prepare yourself for what’s to come in the deposition.

As a provider of deposition services in Phoenix, AZ, here are some items we believe you should include in this checklist:

  • Avoid stipulations and objections: Try not to put any stipulations into the record right at the start of your deposition. If, for example, you present the stipulation that the opposition is allowed to reserve objections, this could result in unwanted consequences farther down the road in your case. Instead, allowing your opposition to state objections during the deposition will in turn allow you to counter them immediately rather than having to wait until trial to do so.
  • Let awkward silences happen: You don’t have to fill every silence with questions or prompts. An awkward silence can be quite powerful—it can cause your witness to become uncomfortable, and encourage them to ramble and potentially reveal important information. Your instincts will help you determine if the witness has more to say than they’re letting on, and being silent can help draw it out of them.
  • Make sure the witness reveals his or her competence: It’s common for witnesses to try to avoid questions by saying they don’t remember certain events, or don’t understand the questions you’re asking. Therefore, you should lead off by getting the witness to demonstrate their competence from another angle. This is going to be especially common in cases that deal with powerful emotions or have a lot at stake, so don’t let the witness back you into a corner by trying to say they don’t remember what happened.
  • Stop objections: If the opposing counsel poses too many objections that can disrupt your line of questioning, you can request non-speaking objections instead. Otherwise, these speaking objections could result in the witness answering questions only in a way that benefits the opposition’s case.
  • Ask important questions at the right times: When the witness’s patience begins to wear thin, this is when their prepared responses start to fade out of their brain and they’re more liable to reveal important information. Even witnesses that have been thoroughly prepared for the deposition will start to tire out. Therefore, this is a good time to ask your most important questions—they won’t be “on their guard” as much, and will be more likely to give you important information for your case.

For more information about how to succeed in a deposition, contact Bartelt | Nix Reporting, LLC to discuss our deposition services in Phoenix, AZ.

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