February 18, 2016

What You Should Do and Avoid During Court Depositions

By: Colleen Jilio-Ryan | Posted in: Deposition

What You Should Do and Avoid During Court Depositions

Depositions are important litigation tools because they usually provide clues for attorneys to predict the outcome of a case. Many times a case is won or lost at the deposition stage and can influence a defendant to agree to a settlement. Here are items to remember to do and not to do during a court deposition.

Witness Rules

Judge in a courtA witness usually has been given notice or a subpoena at least ten days before the legal deposition. The attorney who is conducting the deposition must sign the notice or subpoena, although a judge’s signature is not required. If the deposed fails to appear for the court deposition, it can be treated as contempt of court.

The attorney may issue a Request for Production of Documents, which allows the attorney to make copies of submitted documents. Since most cases settle before trial, many times the court deposition process can wrap up a case, as both sides can see the inevitable outcome of a trial, based on the evidence that emerges from the deposition.

Court Deposition Tips

Here are general points to remember if you are deposed in a court case:

  1. Let the attorney finish asking a question before answering.
  2. Think carefully before answering a question.
  3. Pause before answering to allow time for an objection.
  4. Answer questions without volunteering new information.
  5. Avoid guessing or speculation if you do not know something.
  6. Keep your presentation formal and avoid casual chatter.
  7. Stay calm and never let your emotions get out of control.

Preparing for a Court Deposition

You should get direction from your attorney on specific instructions. Going over the facts of the case with your attorney an hour before the court deposition can be helpful. Keep in mind that a deposition is not the same as a trial since it only involves cross examination instead of a full case presentation.

If you want to schedule a deposition with us, you can do so by ‘Your Online Office’, or through email, phone or fax.

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