How to Prepare for a Deposition

December 24, 2020 7:49 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Preparing for a deposition in Phoenix, AZ can make or break your case. Any attorney worth their salt knows that planning for every possibility they can think of makes it easier to handle issues as they arise—and any surprises that might occur, too. However, witnesses can prepare for the deposition as well. The better you understand what’s going on in the case, the more helpful a witness and the more accurate a reporter can be.

Here are the best deposition preparation tips in Phoenix, AZ.

What is a deposition and why are they taken?

A deposition is part of the “discovery” phase of a case, where opposing parties exchange relevant information. Depositions are taken under oath. A witness is sworn in, and attorneys from the opposing party ask them questions. It’s similar to a court trial, but the rules of evidence are different. It’s important that witnesses, attorneys and court reporters are as prepared and accurate as possible, because the deposition testimony can be used against the witness or party in court.

Depositions are only taken in civil cases. In criminal court, similar proceedings are called preliminary hearings, and are conducted in open court. Depositions, on the other hand, are a fact-finding mission: the opposing party wants to find evidence to use in support of their case or against the other party. The attorneys may want you to commit to a certain version of the facts, or get testimony they can use to discredit the witness or the case later on.

Preparing for a deposition

If you’re a witness, your attorney should go over what to expect from the proceeding. They’ll discuss what they expect from opposing counsel, among other issues. Here’s an overview of what you can do to be prepared:

  • Refresh your recollection: Go over the facts of the case with your attorney so they’re fresh in your mind. For example, if you’re dealing with a car accident case, look at photos and statements before the deposition to make sure your memory is clear.
  • Always tell the truth: You’ll be under oath—do not lie to your attorney or the other attorneys, even if the facts look bad for you. If you’re concerned about potential questions, go over them with your attorney. Don’t guess the answers to questions, and be honest if you don’t know the answer or can’t remember.
  • Don’t volunteer information: Listen to the questions carefully, and think before you answer them. Only answer the question you were asked. For example, if an attorney asks, “What were you wearing that morning?” you don’t need to volunteer information about what the weather was like and why you chose the clothing you did. The more you talk, the more information the other party has to use against you.
  • Keep calm: Depositions can be stressful. Don’t let your emotions get the better of you. Stay calm and avoid the temptation to lash out.

For Phoenix’s most accurate and reliable court reporters, who are always well prepared for a deposition, call Bartelt | Nix Reporting, LLC today.

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