Giving a deposition for your case or as a witness in a case is nothing to fear. You may be nervous that you are going to say something that tanks your case, but if you follow a few simple rules it will go smoothly:
- We will meet 30 minutes to an hour beforehand or the day before to prepare. However, watch the video I created here to prepare.
- Dress comfortable but respectable.
- Don’t talk about anything you have told me in confidence (i.e. attorney-client privilege).
- Don’t speak over anyone. This is a chronic problem that can result in an unintelligible record. Wait until the question is completed before speaking. Never interrupt.
- When you hear “Objection” or “Object,” stop speaking and then I will likely tell you to answer. Objections are only reserved for the record, and you will still have to answer.
- Answer the question asked; don’t volunteer. Most questions call for a simple “yes,” “no,” “I don’t know,” or a simple date, fact, number, or the like. Volunteering information is almost always unhelpful, and can be damaging. Example: “No, I have never been convicted of a felony … but … I have fourteen convictions for petty theft, shoplifting, and simple assault.” And remember, “I don’t know” is a perfectly legitimate answer; wading off into speculation will only make trouble.
- Attitude makes a difference. An earnest witness who clearly is trying to be truthful and doing her best will receive more favorable consideration than a petty, spiteful, sarcastic, bitter, argumentative, evasive witness. It’s just human nature.
- Know your case. We will talk about what the law requires for your case and you need to understand what is needed to prove your case, and the best ways to answer truthfully the key questions. We will also discuss the major points that you will face on cross examination.
- Give audible answers. No shaking or nodding of the head since the court reporter has to take everything down in written form.