A deposition is an out-of-court oral testimony usually conducted in an attorney’s office. What do you do if you are summoned to give one? When you receive a subpoena that tells you you’re required to give a deposition, you might not know what to do. Don’t worry, as many people don’t know what a deposition is and what do you do if you need to give one.
A deposition is when an attorney asks you a series of questions regarding a lawsuit, much like a testimony in court. But instead of presenting in court, depositions are usually conducted in law offices. If you find yourself in this situation, here are some tips to make the process easier:
1. Prepare notes if needed
An experienced court reporter in Phoenix, Arizona, for example, transcribes testimonies given in court. In depositions, there is also a transcriber who records your answers in the law office. When in this situation, nervousness might affect your ability to answer properly, so it might help if you have a set of prepared notes with you. If you have enough time, you should also review the case and make sure your responses are accurate based on your experiences.
2. Control your emotions
A deposition might be scary and stressful, but it’s important to keep your cool in order to make a good first impression. Avoid showing anger or frustration towards any of the lawyers present. When asked questions that hit a nerve, take the time to absorb the questions and control your emotions before answering.
This might be hard to do if the case involves a lot of high tensions. Thus, it’s necessary to prepare for any kind of question that might be asked.
3. Get a legal representative
Similar to court testimony, you are allowed to have your own legal representative present during the deposition. You might not need one if the case is light and if you are only a witness; it depends on your preferences and the circumstances of the case. However, if you attend the deposition without a lawyer and the questions get too uncomfortable, you can ask to reschedule the deposition and get an attorney.
4. Don’t make up answers
Don’t lie or make up answers in the heat of the moment. You might feel that you need to remember what happened, but if you don’t know, just say that you don’t know or you don’t remember. If you don’t know the answer, don’t guess. It can hurt the case and cause unnecessary confusion.
5. Be polite
Being well-mannered during a deposition makes things easier for everybody. During the process, make sure you are polite to the lawyers to maintain credibility. Don’t speak unless spoken to and address people by their last or full names. If you feel uncomfortable or tired, politely ask if you can take a break.
6. Feel free to amend your answers
If you realize that you made a mistake or didn’t say something you should have, you can amend your answers to ensure the accuracy of the transcript. Ask your lawyer for help if this is the case.
A deposition can be stressful, especially if it’s a high-tension case. If you are summoned for a deposition, don’t panic. These tips can help you get through it and contribute factual evidence to the case.