Giving Your Deposition-Nothing To Be Nervous About

Posted by Leslie ShumakeFeb 20, 20220 Comments

     Many, if not most, of our clients are nervous about giving their deposition in a case.  We understand that, and when we prepare them for their deposition, we prepare them the same way we would if they were on the witness stand at the trial itself.  By this I mean we go over their testimony, not only from our side of the case, but from the other side's as well,,,including possible cross examination questions.

    Giving a deposition need not be stressful if you as a client are prepared and remember our law office's Golden Rule when testifying: 

                                         Tell The Truth, Always.   Let me re-emphasize this.  Tell The Truth, Always.

Most depositions take place as follows:   The parties to the lawsuit typically meet at one of the attorney's conference rooms, along with both attorneys. There is a court reporter present, and the other party to the lawsuit has the right to be present during the deposition.  The court reporter will swear you in, just as if you were testifying in court, and then will take down every word said by you or the attorneys who are present.      The Court reporter will later type up the the deposition and deliver it to the attorneys for review and signature, if desired.

     Remembering the following things about giving your deposition will make it a better experience.

     1.  Going back to our "Golden Rule", telling the truth is also the easiest thing to do, as you simply answer the questions truthfully to the best of your ability.  The stress comes when one tries to alter the truth or add to the truth.

     2.  Remember, the trial judge never sees the deposition itself.  As a result, you can forget about the deposition after it's over with, except to use it to prepare for trial.  (The exception to this-if you make statements at the trial which conflict with your deposition testimony, then counsel opposite can use it against you.)

     3.  If you look at the deposition as preparation for the trial itself, you can view it as a positive.  We compare it to a professional football player watching game film in preparation for his upcoming opponent. 

     4.  Our office views your giving a deposition as a good thing for our case.  Many, many times it gives you, our client, and our law office a good picture of what the other side thinks is important; their defenses, claims, etc.

     5.  When you are cross-examined at a deposition, remember that every question you are asked is one more you will be prepared for at trial.  I can then go over every single cross-examination question from the deposition with you.  You will thus be far more prepared for those questions at trial than you would be if you hear them for the first time in front of a judge or jury.

     The bottom line is that depositions can be made less stressful and more positive with these things in mind.  I have never met anyone who wanted to give a deposition or was completely at ease about giving one, no matter how strong the case.  Many times it's like going to the dentist, not pleasant but not as bad as you thought.    And, afterwards, you feel better.