June 30, 2016
The aftermath of a deposition encompasses several steps leading up to a trial and beyond. People who are questioned during depositions, known as deponents, may experience stress about the legal steps that follow, so it helps to learn about the process as much as possible.
During the deposition a court reporter documents the conversation by typing on a stenography device. Using shorthand, the rapidly typed documentation is later transcribed to English to construct a transcript. Sometimes the transcription can take several weeks to complete, depending on the length of the deposition.
All parties involved in the case are then sent a copy of the deposition transcript for review. This gives you time to meet with your lawyer or others to discuss any errors or inconsistencies that need to be revised. When the text has mistakes or statements need to be corrected, you must make necessary changes so that your transcript stands up as credible. If someone misquotes you, for example, you can discuss the error with your attorney.
The attorney will then make an assessment of your case based on the revised transcript. It may lead to rethinking or adding new interviews to the deposition. It’s important that your case is solidified at this stage if it is to be successful.
Not only can your deposition be used in a trial, it can be used as a reference in certain court pleadings as factual evidence. Ultimately, the deposition will become part of the trial and can be compared with other testimony to help build a case for consistency. But even after the trial, the deposition lives on as a part of the public record should someone want to research your case.
Once depositions are over, your lawyer will also go through the testimony and evaluate everything in the transcript. Your strategy may change going forward based on the information gleaned from the key witness interviews. If someone’s deposition produces a significant variation to your case, you will have to consult your attorney about what you can do next.
Further follow-ups might be required when a deposition reveals new or previously unknown information about a case. An attorney may have to go through the information further and may call other witnesses to depose as well. Only then can the lawsuit proceed. That’s why the discovery phase can persist for weeks or months before the trial can continue.
A deposition may serve as the last piece of the litigation puzzle, simplifying the issues and allowing the lawyers to settle the dispute on behalf of their clients. Depending on the case facts and the statement given during the deposition, a settlement might be reached immediately or the parties might get involved in lengthier negotiations before the matter gets resolved.
A deposition usually opens avenues for additional investigation to reveal crucial facts of a case. However, it can also provide just the right information to help the case reach a successful settlement and finish there. Remember that once your deposition becomes part of a public court record, you can still access it even after your case is over.
Colleen Jilio-Ryan is the Owner of Jilio-Ryan, a Tustin based premiere law consulting firm. The firm along with its certified court reporters is dedicated to providing the highest quality deposition and litigation services to attorneys, insurance companies, and corporations. With her sincere efforts, Colleen is committed to meeting the highest standards of the legal industry, and is an industry leader when it comes to on-time court reporting and deposition scheduling.