Business litigation lawyers normally use a deposition of key witnesses as a vital weapon in trial. A highly experienced trial attorney will thoroughly prepare for the deposition. A lawyer representing a client in a deposition needs to make sure that the client is well prepared and knows exactly what is expected of him or her during the entire process.
What is a Deposition?
Witnesses and parties who have never been involved in business litigation may not properly understand what a deposition is or even how significant it is to the absolute success of the lawsuit.
On the other hand, litigation attorneys may be so accustomed to the process of litigation that they fail to clarify exactly what a deposition is to the client.
Who is Present?
A deposition is an opportunity for a party to question a third party witness or another party about matters arising in the lawsuit. A deposition is normally held in a conference room at an attorney’s office. The witness’ attorney, witness, a court reporter and the deposing attorney will be present.
In some cases the deposing party may also be present in the meeting. For vital witnesses the deposition may be videotaped and this means that a videotape technician must also be present. Parties are allowed to attend but not third parties unless the parties involved agree.
The deposing attorney will question the witness during the deposition and it will be the work of the court reporter to transcribe everything that is said. After that, the court reporter will make a transcript of the proceeding.
How Does One Prepare for a Deposition?
For a party the most vital aspect when it comes to preparation is knowing exactly what you need to prove or disprove to start your case. In simple terms, the deponent’s attorney needs to make sure that the deponent properly understands the various elements of the case.
For instance, a business litigation case may involve allegations of a breach of contract. The deponent may be aware of the story of his association with the other party.
Nonetheless, he or she needs to know the legal elements of the claim—that indeed there is a contract, that one of the parties involved breached the contract, and that the other party executed his or her responsibilities under the contract and damage was there.
If the party has assenting defenses, then the deponent should know what those defenses are and the questions that will be asked about them.
It is also vital for a witness at a deposition to be aware of the legal objections, what to do, and when and why they are made. Most objections made by a lawyer in a deposition (law) are objections specially made for the record. This means a judge can review them at a later date.
Nonetheless, a witness has to listen to the objection for a hint to potential problems with the question. For instance, “calls for speculation” refers to the questions that involve a guess such as how you think someone felt, what you think someone else thought, etc.
This could also mean that there are other ways to interpret the question. A witness also has to know that he or she can request the questioner to rephrase the question.
Advice to Deponents
Never take a deposition for granted. Life can indeed get busy sometimes but you should meet with your lawyer before you are deposed to make the deposition. Make sure you review the all the documents presented to you. And more importantly, make sure you know exactly what the case is all about.
Whether you are facing a simple or complex business matter, our business litigation attorneys at the Law Firm of Peter M. Feaman, P.A., will offer you the necessary legal services. Call us today on (561)-734-5552 so we can begin tackling your case.