Attorney Tips for preparing witnesses for depositions.
Attorney tips for preparing witnesses for depositions is the name of this week’s blog. At Phoenix Deposition Services, we’re proud to provide several certified court reporting services that are highly beneficial to both attorneys and clients alike. From our video conferencing and deposition services to real-time court reporting and several related areas, we ensure you have access to quality deposition content as quickly as possible so you can move forward with your case.
Whether you’re an experienced attorney with years on the job or a newer entry to the field, managing a witness for a deposition is a tricky but vital area to consider. Let’s look at a few basic tips we can offer on properly preparing and managing a witness, including several areas that will maintain your own legal integrity and will ensure you’ve checked all the proper boxes.
For starters, it’s important to understand that the vast majority of people you might call as a deposition witness have no experience with the procedures associated with this or any part of a courtroom. Most people simply haven’t been in these situations before, so they might be nervous or somewhat intimidated by what’s facing them.
For this reason, it’s important to adequately prepare them in advance. It’s vital for us to make a major distinction here: As an attorney, you cannot actively coach the witness on what to say or how to respond to certain questions favorably. However, you can absolutely provide examples of the sorts of questions they might receive, detail the procedures that will take place, and explain why the deposition is important and how it may impact the case. You can also give general tips on deposition etiquette and other areas not directly related to the case in question.
Reviewing Court Rules
Another important area to go over with your witness is any rules or regulations present in the courtroom. Let them know about the kinds of motions or objections you might make as an attorney, plus inform them of any conferencing rules that are present for the deposition.
This conferencing area is important – witnesses must know the procedure for private conferences if they wish to speak with you during the deposition. In addition, they should be made aware that these kinds of conferences, if allowed (they might not be in some situations), might lead to general distrust or related issues with their testimony. If at all possible, encourage witnesses not to engage in a private conference unless absolutely necessary.
Clients and False Statements
In a rare situation where your witness makes an untrue statement that you know is false, the law is clear: It requires you to “remonstrate with the client confidentially, advise them of the lawyer’s duty of candor to the tribunal and seek the client’s cooperation with respect to the withdrawal or correction of the false statements or evidence.”
In other words: If your witness lies and you know it, you are legally required to start a private conference with them and advise them to recant their statement. For this reason, it’s also very important to inform your witness in advance about the vital nature of being truthful and honest throughout the deposition.
For more on preparing and managing a deposition witness, or to learn about any of our court reporters or video depositions, speak to the staff at Phoenix Deposition Services today.