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Don't Despair If You Are Being Deposed

If you’ve been asked to be a witness at a deposition, called a deponent, you have either filed suit

against an entity, have been sued, or are a person who may have information pertinent to

the case.

A deposition is an opportunity for the requesting attorney to ask questions and to gather facts about you and the case. A deposition is for fact finding, not for pleading the case.

Depositions usually take place in a conference room with attorneys, a court reporter, and possibly others.

A deponent should answer the questions fully but not add information not asked for.

Deponents should wait until the complete question is asked before they begin to answer, even if they

can see where the question is going. And the attorney, of course, should not start a question until the deponent has fully answered. If the attorney does begin a question and the deponent is still giving an answer, the attorney will usually stop to allow the deponent to finish.

Be aware that there will be microphones either on the table or worn by the people there. So deponents should try not to touch the microphones, put papers on them, tap fingernails, or pound on the table.

If a deponent’s attorney is with them, he or she may object to a question. Unless their attorney tells the deponent not to answer, the deponent still has to answer the question as there is no judge at a deposition to rule on the objection.

Deponents will be asked at the conclusion of the deposition whether or not they want to read and sign the transcript when it is prepared. Most deponents waive this right, but it is their choice. If a deponent chooses to read the transcript to check for errors and they think that the court reporter transcribed something incorrectly, they can note any errors on an errata sheet. If they want to change any of their testimony, they may be asked to return for another deposition to clarify their testimony.

Stay calm, and the experience should not be difficult.

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