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What Are Some Deposition Tips?

Depositions may be used during the trial if the witness is not available to testify.
Depositions are often a precursor to testifying in front of the judge or jury.
People giving a deposition should calmly and clearly state the facts to the best of their knowledge.
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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: J.T. Gale
  • Last Modified Date: 31 August 2014
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A deposition is less formal than courtroom proceedings. This does not mean, however, that it does not require skill and preparation. A deposition can be an essential part of a case. To help ensure that the deposition works in her favor, an attorney may want to consider deposition tips that involve scheduling, questioning, and preparing her client.

Many witnesses ponder what they should do when they are asked questions that they believe will hurt their case. This causes some to either become hostile or to contemplate false testimony. An attorney usually should give her client deposition tips that will help him to manage tough questions. For example, the client typically should be advised to give as brief an answer as possible and not to elaborate beyond the necessary answer.

It can be essential for an attorney to completely inform her client about the purposes of a deposition and how the proceedings will work. The client should be made to understand that although he is not in a courtroom, he must tell the truth. He also should be informed that consequences such as penalties of perjury do apply to the deposition testimony that he provides.

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An attorney usually should not allow her client to believe that he must answer questions that he does not understand or that are ambiguous. The client should be made aware that he can ask for clarification. An attorney also should be attentive of the questions that are being posed to her client by the opposing attorney. She should not hesitate to intervene when necessary.

Deposition tips with regards to scheduling can be useful for both the attorneys and the witnesses. The amount of time allowed for a deposition may be defined in some cases. In most instances, however, there will be no time limit. Many people underestimate how long these proceeding will take.

It typically is best for an attorney to schedule ample time and to advise her client to do the same. If either feels rushed, the testimony may not be as thorough as it could have been. An attorney also should advise her client of the right to ask for a break. A witness should not feel forced to continue answering questions when his testimony is impacted by hunger or the need to use the restroom.

New attorneys may benefit from deposition tips that address questioning. For example, an attorney can use the informal atmosphere of a deposition to draw information out of a witness that may be difficult to extract in a court room. She can do this by formatting questions so that the witness feels more comfortable and at ease.

An attorney may want to start with broad questions. These leave room for the witness to provide information that the attorney might not have considered asking. Instead of starting with questions about a specific period of a day, for example, the attorney may ask a witness to describe what he remembers about a particular day. Later, the attorney can ask more direct questions about specific incidents or time periods.

One of the final important deposition tips that an attorney usually should remember pertains to the questions that she asks. If an attorney asks a question that is sloppy or that she deems unfit, she can request to have it struck from the record. This will prevent it from appearing in the transcript.

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