Read the Notice of Deposition Early and Carefully

Many litigants (and careless or inexperienced attorneys) do not read the Notice of Deposition ("Notice") very carefully until its too late. When the Notice comes in, you will read it carefully to find out a number of important things. First, when is the deposition. If the deposition is on a date when you are not available, contact the opposition immediately. Before your opposition can file a motion to compel your deposition, he would have to establish that he met and conferred with you regarding any problems with the date for the deposition. Second, where is the deposition? Is the Notice requiring you to travel further that the law allows? Finally, are you being requested to bring any documents to the deposition? If so, is your opposition entitled to those documents? In not, then you need to file a written objection that you will serve on your opposition at least three days before the deposition. In short, don't just get a Notice and then look at it the day before the deposition.


Take a Practice Session

If you are represented by an attorney, make sure that your attorney meets with you in advance of the deposition (not a few moments in the morning on the same day as the deposition). At the meeting, the attorney should explain to you the ground rules of a deposition, but he should also run through a practice session. Your attorney can't predict all of the questions that the other side will ask, but if he has been practicing law for a significant period of time, he will pretty much know what type of questions you can expect. Have him actually ask you the questions, and you answer them-without interruption-as if you were actually at the deposition. When you start the actual deposition, and the first question out of the opposing counsel's mouth is precisely one of the questions your own attorney asked at the preparation session you had, your anxiety level will decrease dramatically.


Know The Ground Rules of a Deposition

Wait until the person taking the deposition finishes asking his question before you start answering. You don't want to answer a question which is not really the question. Don't interrupt the person asking the questions. Give your attorney a second or two after each question to see if he wants to object to the question. If he objects, most of the time, he will tell you to go ahead and answer the question anyways. On some, more rare, occasions, he will instruct you not to answer the question. Regardless of what the other side says at that point, since you have an attorney, follow your attorney's instructions. Answer each question, but only answer the question. Your deposition is not your day to tell your whole story, it is merely the day that the other side has to get the portions of the story that he is smart enough to ask about. Tell the truth, not only because you are under oath, but because if you do tell the truth, your testimony will be fully consistent.