Depositions provide attorneys with an invaluable way to learn more about potential witnesses who could either support or oppose their client’s case, so that by trial time neither side is surprised by anything the witness says on the stand.
Depositions take place as part of the discovery process and are recorded by a court reporter. When being deposed, each individual must receive notice from their attorney who subpoenaed them, informing them they must appear for examination on schedule.
Deposition is the process of recording witness statements outside of courtroom settings and under oath, so attorneys on both sides are allowed to pose questions under oath to establish truthfulness of statements given under deposition oath, meaning any false statements could result in civil or criminal penalties. As part of discovery phase in litigation proceedings, deposition allows both sides to uncover information that could help or harm their case.
Depositions may be an integral component of legal proceedings, yet witnesses can still find them daunting and confusing. Litigation attorney Dan Small points out that this uncertainty stems from several sources such as formality of proceedings, questioning style and discovery processes. He further outlines which areas a witness should concentrate on to ensure they enter their deposition process with confidence.
Depositions can help attorneys gather evidence and information prior to trial. By interviewing witnesses under oath and extracting their statements under oath, attorneys often gain more information about a case than by simply reviewing documents and physical evidence alone.
Depositions offer legal representatives an opportunity to ask witnesses questions related to the case at hand and may include documentary identification questions to verify the authenticity of documents to be used as evidence at trial.
Deposing witnesses who will provide key testimony in court proceedings is essential if their testimony will be essential for trial, as taking their deposition helps preserve it for trial proceedings and protects them in case they become unavailable, such as dying or leaving the country before their trial takes place.
Depositions are conducted by lawyers for both sides with a court reporter present to record testimony verbatim. Sometimes a deponent’s testimony will also be videotaped. Attorneys then question witnesses through rounds of direct and cross-examinations; though either attorney may object to certain questions during these proceedings without having their objections heard by a judge.
Your lawyer will prepare you for the types of questions that may be asked during a deposition and advise that it would be prudent to answer each one truthfully and thoroughly without volunteering any unnecessary information. Your attorney may instruct you not to answer certain questions due to attorney-client privilege, work product privilege, or Fifth Amendment protections.
Depositions are non-court hearings used as part of litigation discovery; witnesses being deposed must testify under oath during this process.
Depositions allow attorneys from both sides of an issue to pose questions to an individual being deposed, with a court reporter taking down answers word for word. This process may require several sessions of depositions before any conclusive information can be collected from witnesses.
Your attorney can assist in the preparation for a deposition by explaining how it works, anticipating potential questions from opposing lawyers, and reviewing documents which may be discussed during depositions. They will also play “devil’s advocate”, asking tough, probing questions that might make you uncomfortable but won’t get bogged down in trifling details that bog down depositions.
Legal assistants from both plaintiff and defense attorneys work together to select a date that works for all. A court reporter, videographer, and sometimes even an interpreter will typically attend this event.
Dependent upon their case, parties may decide to hold a conference before taking depositions in order to address discovery issues and formulate a discovery plan. This provides an opportunity to address the “ten-per-side” limit as well as whether increasing or shortening deposition length would be more productive.
Discuss any special services, such as the need for exhibits to be sent in advance for realtime streaming, so as to ensure the necessary equipment is on hand for depositions.