Tips for Taking Your First Deposition

Tips for Taking Your First Deposition

From Syed Kashif Ali

It might be nerve-wracking going through a deposition. You have civil litigation, which requires you to be on the spot and speak truthfully.

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It might be nerve-wracking going through a deposition. You have civil litigation, which requires you to be on the spot and speak truthfully. However, solid preparation can make it a more tolerable experience. Here are some tips to help you take your first deposition. 

 

Don't Write Out Questions

Remember, your deposition summaries can lead to breakthroughs in the case. You want to write notes to help you guide the process much smoother. Writing out questions can break up the flow of listing things down after your client makes a statement.

As an attorney, you want to listen and react to the witness' statement. It gives you a better guide to gauge the follow-up question instead of just having a pre-written list that shows no cohesiveness in a potential case. While you may want that perfect statement and outline, it's best to write a few blurbs that get straight to the point.

It'll make it easier to move around and think of follow-up questions on the fly. When you get what you need, you can begin to organize it all into a well-written transcript.

Understand the Facts

Go above and beyond the protocol in your rookie status. A young attorney doesn't have the experience as a lawyer with 20 years of doing depositions. They have the intuition and know the process very well that it may be a walk in the park from their perspective.

However, you can use that to your advantage by being meticulous. Look at each detail and take your time. You may cover some territory that an experienced legal representative misses because they take their seniority for granted.

The better you prepare for the deposition, the more you'll help close the gap to providing a sound argument to back up your client.

Control the Situation

You should be in a position of power. Where are you most comfortable in the room? It can make you feel better during the deposition process.

Also, think about drinking some water or meditating before doing pre-trial litigation to help you ease into the testimony. If the defense attorney and plaintiff are waiting outside your door, you have the right to tell your receptionist when to invite them to your office. You have time to set up the room to make you feel more powerful and have them sit down from an angle you feel more confident.

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