If you have your first deposition coming up, it’s important that you know what to expect. Law school and sitting in on other depositions may have clued you into how it could go, but there’s a big difference between observing and doing. Along with having an excellent court reporter, there are a few things you can do to ensure a successful proceeding. Here are our best tips on how to defend a deposition in Phoenix, AZ.
As you know, preparation is the key to success—including witness preparation. Your witness probably has no idea what to expect from a deposition. This can be incredibly frightening to most laypeople, which means they may not perform as well as you need them to. Situations where you’re comfortable—like a deposition room or courtroom—are unfamiliar to them.
Preparing your witness can mean a number of different things. For example, you should go over all the relevant documents and information they’re already given for the case. Police reports, photos, witness statements and other ephemera can be quite helpful.
You can and should work with your witness on mock deposition practice, too. The best way to get good answers out of them in the actual deposition is to see how they respond in real life, correct them and try again. With enough practice, you should get the results you want.
Obviously, you shouldn’t coach the witness to make them say what you want them to say. The key is to help them tell the truth in the light most favorable to their case.
Generally, there are only two kinds of objections available in depositions: form of the question, and privilege. Form of the question might trip your opponent up, but is largely not worth fighting for. (Again, circumstances may vary.) Privilege, on the other hand, can be a really big problem. If an attorney asks a client or witness to reveal privileged information, you need to be quick to object. Listen to the testimony closely and make sure you’re on top of the questions so you can make a timely objection when necessary.
Remember the transcript
It’s very easy for newer lawyers to forget the transcript, but your court reporters will appreciate it. Make sure your witness knows to indicate things in words, rather than gestures, “uh-huhs,” grunts and other symbols. As an attorney, you know how to make sure the record reflects the appropriate meaning—but if the other side doesn’t do so, it could jeopardize the theory of your case.
Remember, if your statement isn’t on the record, it doesn’t exist.
Always protect your witness
Finally, make sure you protect your witness. Testifying is scary, exhausting and tedious. Make sure they get plenty of bathroom breaks, as well as water and food when necessary. This will ensure that you get the best results possible.
When you need a skilled court reporter for your legal deposition in Phoenix, AZ, get in touch with Bartelt | Nix Reporting, LLC to learn more about our services.
Categorised in: Legal Depositions
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