The upcoming weeks seem to have quite a few depositions on the calendar, those wonderful, all-day calendar items that can be as boring as a blank piece of paper or can end up with you hitting the front pages of thenewspaper due to your wild behavior. Before your deposition, it is important to take time to prepare for the experience, which is unlike anything you are likely to encounter in your day to day life.
The first thing to remember is that the purpose of the deposition is to elicit information regarding the lawsuit or controversy. It is also a chance for you to encounter the opposing attorney and their style of questioning (and their chance to test your ability to withstand questions as well) for the first time.
It is important that you appear professional and treat all present in a respectful manner. Remember that this is the time to tell the truth, but be sure to listen to the question that has been asked and answer that question. You will be doing yourself a disservice if you continually answer what you think the next question will be, rather than the one actually asked of you. If you don’t know the answer, can’t answer a question or can’t remember, it’s important that you tell the questioning attorney. You aren’t expected to know everything in the world, but if you start to guess, you can get yourself in a lot of trouble.
Before your deposition, think about the case, look at the pleadings and other documents. Give them all a review and think about what questions you think will be asked at the deposition. Those areas may or may not come up, but it will allow your mind to focus on the entire universe of the case.
In the end, remember that you are the one who was present, not the other lawyer. While lawyers can be prepared for almost anything, the other lawyer’s preparation is no substitute for your human experience of the history and events that you are being questioned about. No one else knows your life better than you do.
While this is a quick summary, there are a lot of other tips, tricks and work to be done to prepare for your deposition. You don’t need to do it alone – your attorney should set aside time to go through any questions or concerns you have going into your deposition.