Take the time to go over the facts and details of your case. Make sure you have provided all the relevant documents and exhibits to your lawyer. If its an accident case, it might help you to go back and revisit the scene to refresh your recollection. Make a list of the doctors, therapists and other health professionals you have seen. In other types of litigation, it may help to prepare a timeline for your attorney showing the sequence of important events. Think about the case and what you feel are the important points that you are likely to be questioned about. Make a list of questions or concerns that you want to bring to your lawyer's attention.
Meet With Your Lawyer
Make sure your attorney has set aside sufficient time to meet and prepare with you. Do not just leave it for one hour before the deposition at the courthouse, except in the most basic matters. Insist on meeting at least the day before. I rarely bring a client to a deposition without at least two preparation sessions. This is also your opportunity to tell your lawyer anything you are concerned about or discuss issues that might be good/bad for your case. Don't be shy to ask questions of your lawyer and ask what you can expect at the deposition from your adversary. If there are photos,emails or documents go over each and every one that may come up at the deposition.
The Day of The Deposition
Dress appropriately. You may want to ask your lawyer how you should dress. You may want to send a particular message to the other side through your appearance. Whatever you decide to wear, make sure it is comfortable and not restrictive. Get there at least one half hour ahead of the scheduled meeting time. This way you are not rushing around and adding to the anxiety of the deposition. Get yourself something to eat and drink and bring a water bottle to have with you at the deposition. Make sure you have given your lawyer your cellphone number so that you can be reached in the event of a last minute cancellation or emergency. When you meet your lawyer that morning ask any final questions that you may have before you enter the deposition room.
At the Deposition
Your lawyer will likely give you specific advice about testifying at the deposition so I will just go over some basic principles. Keep your voice up and maintain eye contact with the questioner. Wait until the question is fully asked then answer. Keep your responses verbal -"Yes" "No" etc instead of a nod/shake of the head. Ask for a break if you need one (try not to go over an hour or so without a break). In most areas, you can always ask for a break as long as there is no open, unanswered question pending. If your lawyer says "Objection" stop talking immediately and wait for instruction. If there is a discussion or argument between the attorneys do not get involved. Answer the specific question posed and don't feel the need to explain or volunteer information. If you don't recall or don't know the answer, just say so, don't guess or say what you think someone wants to hear. Finally, if you don't fully understand a question ask for it to be repeated or rephrased.
After The Deposition
You will be provided an opportunity to review the transcript of the depositon a few weeks after it is taken. On a separate sheet of paper, you can make corrections, changes or additions. You shold be aware however that the other side can question you and comment to a jury about the changes you made so you want to do your best to get it right the first time and not count on the opportunity to correct the transcript later. Good Luck!
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