Giving a Deposition for the First Time? Here’s What to Do
Do you have a deposition coming up that you’re worried about? Don’t worry. It’s not as bad as you think.
You can think of your deposition as part of the fact-finding process for a court case. Of course, it won’t take place in court, but you will be bound to tell the truth to the people asking the questions.
If you want to know what to do when giving a deposition, this post will help. Keep reading to learn how to handle each stage of the process.
Before the Deposition
It isn’t enough to head to your deposition without any preparation. Follow the tips below to make sure you’re ready.
1. Get With Your Lawyer
You don’t want to go into a legal proceeding on your own. You probably don’t know the ins and outs of the procedure. If you go in without knowing, something could catch you by surprise.
Make sure to have your lawyer walk you through the proceedings. They will fill you in on everything you need to know. Please make your appointment as close as you can to your deposition date, so their advice is fresh in your mind.
2. Review Your Paperwork
Before giving your testimony, you need to refresh your memory about everything that happened. Make sure you look through any paperwork that involves what you’re testifying about.
You’ve more than likely answered questions before. Therefore, your answers during your deposition need to be consistent with your previous replies. You never know when you could forget one small detail.
3. Potential Research Questions
You won’t know all the questions you must answer at a deposition. But that doesn’t mean you can’t anticipate them. Take some time to figure out any questions you might need to know. Doing this will help you come up with answers beforehand. Always try to find out more information than you need to. The less you have to think on the spot, the better.
4. Rehearse the Facts
It won’t do any good for you to ramble when answering questions. The only thing this does is give you more opportunities to say something wrong.
Before your deposition, practice keeping your answers as short as possible. You don’t need to create a script for yourself. You only need to work on removing as many filler words as possible.
5. Try a Mock Deposition
If you’ve never been to a deposition before, you quickly get nervous when you first get to the interview room. If you want to try to calm your nerves, try to imitate what the deposition will be like for yourself. Ask your friends, family, or lawyer to help you with this. Use your research questions and practice being in the spotlight.
During the Deposition
The day of your deposition is here. You’ve already done the prep work you need. Here’s what you need to know when you’re giving your deposit.
1. Don’t Lie
The point of a deposition is to get the truth. So you don’t want to take a chance and lie during the process to try and get a better outcome.
It doesn’t benefit you or anyone you are testifying for. You’ll be under oath when answering questions. If you lie, you can face the same punishments that you would receive if you lie in court.
2. Don’t Speculate
When you’re giving answers for your deposition, the last thing you want to do is respond to questions that you don’t have the correct answer for. You need to know the facts.
If there is something in your testimony that you aren’t sure about, don’t guess. Instead, be prepared to answer that you don’t know.
3. Ask for Clarification
You may run into a situation where you aren’t sure about the question. For example, it could be because the question was complicated or legal terms were used that you don’t understand. In situations like these, you don’t want to answer based on assumptions.
Instead, ask the interviewer to clarify what they mean. Doing this will force the interviewer to ask the question differently. You can get a better sense of the question when you do this. You’ll be able to nail your answer without worrying about a misunderstanding.
4. Don’t Argue
The person asking you questions might not be the friendliest. If it’s a lawyer trying to help their client, they may try to rattle you so you don’t give the best answers. Don’t let this phase you.
Stay calm if the person asking you questions is argumentative and badgering you. Don’t argue with them if they question you; stick with what you know is true.
If you think you may have a hard time at your deposition, have your lawyer accompany you. They will object to harassment and will help move things along smoothly.
5. Dress Well
You don’t want to go to your deposition in jeans and a t-shirt. You’re heading to a professional setting. It’s worth the extra effort to make yourself more presentable.
Remember that you may also be called to testify in court. Therefore, your deposition is also a way for lawyers to see how you present yourself and determine how likable you are.
If you don’t present yourself well, your testimony may not make it to court.
Make Sure to Prepare Before Giving a Deposition
Giving a deposition causes a lot of people to get nervous. Just remember, as long as you do your preparation and tell the truth, you won’t have any need to worry. Make sure to follow the tips above to make your deposition a success.
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