When people are notified that they need to give a deposition for a court case, many fail to prepare themselves properly or adequately. Most people don’t even know what a deposition is–much less how to give one successfully.
If you are one of these people and are summoned to give a deposition, here are the most effective ways you can prepare yourself for it:
1. Coordinate with your lawyer
When your lawyer asks to meet with you in advance before the deposition, show up and listen to what they have to say. A good lawyer will explain what a deposition is, what you have to do, what you should say, and what you shouldn’t say. If your lawyer doesn’t meet up with you or at least sets up a video conference to help you prepare, find another lawyer.
2. Prepare notes
A deposition is essentially a testimony held in a lawyer’s office, without Phoenix, AZ court reporters, for example, or a judge and jury. Given that it’s a less formal setting, you can take notes with you and use them to answer questions properly.
Thus, before the deposition takes place, prepare notes that include the information about the incident, especially details that you can’t remember off the top of your head. Write down your version of the story so you know how to tell it during your deposition. When possible, have your lawyer check your notes before the deposition takes place.
3. Have a mock deposition
Ask your lawyer to conduct a mock deposition with you so you can prepare yourself for difficult questions, factual assumptions, and intimidation. Don’t think that the opponent’s lawyer won’t use these tactics against you. So if you want to give factual and complete statements despite these tactics, learning how to deflect them using a mock deposition is greatly advantageous.
It’s also a good idea to videotape your mock deposition. Afterwards, you and your lawyer can watch and see if your body language or facial expressions need some work.
4. Do some research on your own
Aside from preparing for the deposition with your lawyer, do your own research at home. Review the case, the details of the incident, and the records associated with the case (e.g. medical documents, police records). Use online resources to find out how a deposition works, and you can even watch videos of mock depositions on YouTube.
5. Learn how you can make a good impression
Making a good impression on the day of your deposition can significantly benefit your credibility. To do that, wear business casual attire (nothing too formal nor too casual), remind yourself to be polite at all times, and learn how you can control your emotions even when you’re asked about touchy subjects.
Most importantly, don’t lie, not even to yourself. Maintaining a good impression throughout your deposition is the best way to keep your credibility.
The days leading up to a deposition may be nerve-wracking, but rather than stressing about the day itself, why not prepare yourself for it? If you are summoned for a deposition, use these tips to help yourself become ready, credible, and informed.