In business litigations, attorneys may use a deposition as a weapon to discredit witnesses in a trial. Any experienced attorney knows how important it is to prepare for deposition, as they know that the testimony presented at the time of disposition can readily be used in discrediting witnesses if and when a case goes to trial. Regarding this, attorneys who are representing clients in a deposition ought to ensure that their clients are adequately prepared, and they know what to expect from them during the process says a top law firm handling business litigation New Orleans.
Understanding What A Disposition Is
Witness and parties that have not be involved or participated in business litigation might not be in the know-how about what a deposition is. They may not know the importance of a deposition and how it relates to the success of a lawsuit. Moreover, litigation attorneys might be so much accustomed to the process of litigation that they do not take it serious to explain what this process of a deposition is to a client meaning they are likely to assume a client knows what it is.
In definition, a deposition is that chance where a party can question another or third party witnesses about issues arising during a lawsuit. In that case, a typical deposition is held in a room at the office of an attorney. The witness’ lawyer, the witness, and deposing attorney as well as a court reporter are present during this time. At times, a deposing party might be present.
At other times, when important witnesses are involved, the deposition process may need to be videotaped. Therefore a technician experienced in videotaping may be needed. The different parties are eligible to attend. However, third parties may not be allowed unless the parties involved agree on that.
During the process of a deposition, a deposing attorney asks the witness various questions, and the court report transcribes what is said. Thereafter, the court reporter prepares a transcript of these proceedings.
How You Can Prepare For A Deposition
Any party involved in a deposition needs to know why it is important to prepare and what exactly they need to prove or disprove, so as to establish a case. This, in other words, means that the deponent’s attorney ought to ensure the deponent possesses a good understanding of all the elements of a case. For instance, a typical business litigation lawsuit may involve something like a breach of contract allegations.
Therefore, the deponent might have some knowledge about the story of the relationship they have with the other party. Nonetheless, the deponent should be aware of all the legal elements involving a claim— which include aspects like; there is a contract, a party breached that contract, another party did meet the obligations that are outlined in the contract and that some damage was done.
The deponent should also understand the fundamental building blocks what revolved around their case. In the event that the party possesses affirmative defenses, then the deponents need also be aware of all the defenses and the questions that are likely to be asked about such defenses.
On top of that, a witness at a deposition ought to know the legal objections, and why those objections are being made. They also need to know what they should do when the legal objections are made. In most of the situations, most objections put forward by attorneys in depositions are actually objections, which are made for the record. That means they are intended for review at a later date by a judge.
However, the witness is still required to answer the questions posed. Nonetheless, a witness needs to listen to those objections to getting some clue about the potential problems that may be in the questions. For instance, “calls for speculation” implies that a question could be asking you to try to guess about something— that’s, what someone else might have thought or how someone self might have felt.
When a question is “vague and ambiguous”, it implies that there may be many ways in which such a question may be interpreted. A witness needs to know that they have a right to request the questioner to either rephrase their question or they simply choose to state that they don’t understand that question.
Apart from the legal issues, a deponent, however, should be prepared for aspects pertaining to psychological elements of a deposition. For instance, a deponent needs to be aware that depositions aren’t conversations. In conversations, any moment of silence may create discomfort and people may jump in to fill the silence by for instance talking. Therefore, a deponent needs to be warned to refrain or keep off from talking when there is silence.
An experienced attorney will leave moments of silence following an answer, and this is a trick they use to see if the witness will go against the rules, for instance if the witness will continue talking. At other times, the deposing attorney may raise their voice and attempt browbeating witnesses. It is important that the deponent remains warned not to try to argue with a lawyer and instead focus on response, which shows up in the written transcript.
In case there is any form of argument, it should be done by the lawyer of the deponent because he or she can challenge those unfair questions or they can point out that the other attorneys are raising their voice or conducting themselves in unprofessional manner.
Last but not least, a deponent ought to be properly prepared regarding documents they are likely to be questioned about. Hence, a deponent shouldn’t be surprised during a deposition by emails they wrong long time and which perhaps they had forgotten about. At times, some parties may claim they cannot remember the documents in their case or they do not even recall having had conversations mentioned in such emails.
And, while an attorney of a deponent may advise their client it is OK to say they do not remember events that happened long time ago, however, they need to be cautioned that it can be damaging to the credibility of the witness if they cannot remember anything.
What Advice Is Given to Deponents And Their Lawyers?
It is important you don’t take a deposition proceeding for granted. You should ensure you meet your lawyer before being deposed so that you prepare for the deposition. Ensure you have reviewed all documents that might be asked about. And more importantly, ensure you know all about the case. For business litigations, lawyers who have witnesses claiming to be busy to prepare or meet with them may need to ensure they are pushed to do so.