Tips for Giving a Deposition
Giving a deposition doesn’t have to be a frightening event. A deposition is quite an easy process and with a little preparation with your attorney, you’ll know exactly what to expect. There are also rules of thumb you can follow to prepare yourself for giving a deposition easily and successfully. There’s no need for stress!
For a brief introduction to what depositions are and advice like what to wear to your deposition, watch this video first.
Now that you’re armed with the basics, here are some more things you should know and tips you should employ when giving your deposition.
- Truth is king! Never, ever lie when giving your deposition. It amounts to perjury, which is illegal. Plus, if you’re caught in a lie, it ruins your character and credibility when it comes to the case. You should be confident in the truth, no matter how much you’d rather not talk about certain things. Opposing attorneys taking your deposition may have information you don’t know they have, and there’s no way to tell. If you lie, chances are it will come back to bite you – sometimes seriously. Keep it honest and clean.
- Listen carefully. You should always make sure you fully heard and understand the question before answering. If you did not, ask for the question to be repeated or clarified. Don’t commit to answering something that’s unclear.
- Think before speaking. It’s OK to pause after the question is asked to collect your thoughts. In fact, it’s encouraged. You want your answers to be as clear and thorough as befits the question asked, so take a few moments to plan what you’re going to say before saying it.
- Never guess. You should not attempt to answer a question by guessing at the answer or speculating about what’s best to say in the situation. Your answers should be truthful and given to the best of your knowledge. If you don’t know something, say so. Even if it’s a very basic question, like your address. If you blank on the answer due to nerves, don’t just throw something out there. Tell those present that you don’t remember, even if it’s embarrassing.
- Exercise your right to confer. You have the right to talk to your lawyer before answering any questions, so if you’re in doubt, tell the opposing attorney you want to confer.
- Stop when you’ve answered the question. Don’t continue talking and volunteering information. Say only what is required to answer the question fully, then stop yourself from getting chatty. It’s easy to keep talking, especially if you’re nervous, but that serves you no good purpose.
- State the facts without explanation or apology. Answer the question honestly, but don’t feel that you need to defend your answer or back it up with more information or an explanation. The simple answer to your question suffices; a deposition is about gathering information, not about moral judgement.
- Don’t rely on body language like gestures or nodding yes or shaking your head no. The court reporter records the words you speak, and it becomes very difficult for everyone involved if you don’t speak clearly and answer with words rather than your body.
- Stay calm and stay nice. Don’t tense up and jabber, and don’t get defensive or crabby. Stay professional and polite, and the whole process will go much more smoothly.
- Quote with care. If you quote or paraphrase another person in your deposition it’s imperative that you tell those present that you are quoting or paraphrasing when you give your answer. Attribute the quote to the person you took it from. Otherwise they’ll likely think they are your own words, which can lead to troubles and confusion.
- Correct your mistakes. The moment you realize you’ve made a mistake during your deposition, notify those present that you’ve made an error and correct it.
- Be guarded. You don’t have to be paranoid, but remember that the information collected in your deposition could be intended for use against you. Being garrulous and outgoing, or trying to “win over” those present, simply won’t work. You can end up talking yourself into problems, so be concise but be truthful. Don’t be charmed by the opposing attorney, either.
This blog sponsored by: Planet Depos