Have you been called for a deposition? Are you a first-time deponent? It can be intimidating to wonder what’s going to happen at the deposition or prior. Why were you called? What can you offer to the case? What’s your role in the case? These and other questions will be answered as you prepare for a deposition as a first-time deponent.
Ask why you’ve been called.
This should seem obvious but we’ve seen deponents enter rooms and be unclear about why they’ve been called. To avoid a moment of confusion, ask the attorney who requested the deposition why you were called prior to deposition date. Maybe you were listed as a witness to a car accident or a slip and fall at a store. All they want to know is what you saw, heard, experienced during the event in question.
Tell what you know and be honest but…don’t tell information that you haven’t been asked.
Q: Where were you at 8pm on the night in question?
Some might give a detailed description of where they were right after work at 6pm, then to the grocery store, then to pick up dinner, and finally get to what happened at 8pm on the night in question. Instead, just answer the question with embellishment.
A: I was pulling into my driveway at 8pm on the night in question.
The lawyers don’t need to know you had a garlic pizza and a week’s worth of groceries in your car at the time. If they want to know those details, they will ask.
If you’re not sure what the question is or of your answer, whether you’re a first-time deponent or not, don’t guess. Instead, say you don’t know or aren’t sure and/or ask for the question to be repeated. The lawyer may rephrase so that you can answer to the best of your knowledge or you may really not know the answer. It’s okay to say you don’t know.
Leave the sandals and shorts at home.
Dress like you’re going to court or church or business meeting. It is better to be overdressed in a suit or business attire than to be in sandals and shorts or jeans and t-shirt. Even if the proceeding is happening in a conference room, impressions matter.
As a first-time deponent, we can’t stress enough the importance of asking questions and understanding why you’re there. Seek your own legal counsel and be prepared on the day of deposition.
If you’re a North Carolina attorney seeking a court reporter for an upcoming deposition, call Ruffin Consulting today!