The witness that is critical to your client’s case will not always be in your state. When this happens, there are several legal and other preparatory steps that must be taken to depose the witness. In this blog, we explore the necessary steps to prepare for an out of state deposition.
As a paralegal, your role, under the supervision of your assigned attorney, is to ensure that the necessary steps are taken to secure the witness for an out of state deposition.
Know the State Laws
Each state has different rules and laws as it relates to depositions and the process required to compel a witness that is within their jurisdiction. You must ascertain the specific county in which the witness resides and determine the procedural rules that must be followed to depose the witness.
A quick way to make sure that your law firm is following all of the procedural requirements of your witness’ home state is to contact the clerk of the court. The clerk can provide accurate information on how to go about deposing the witness in their jurisdiction, along with regulations relating to serving a subpoena.
Secure Your Witness
It’s always easier when the witness is a willing participant. However, this isn’t always the case. It is important to note that sometimes even consenting witnesses will change their minds and depending on the value they add to your case; it may be best to secure your witness’ presence with a subpoena.
This process of using a subpoena to secure your witness varies from state to state. So, it’s important that you understand the overall process and. Some states require a commission or letters of rogatory as part of the procedure involved in securing a witness. You may also want to consider hiring a law firm from that state in addition to obtaining information from the clerk of court.
Every aspect of your client’s case is time sensitive so obtaining and serving the subpoena should be top on your out of state deposition to do list. A witness who does not turn up for the deposition can result not only in out of pocket expenditure for your attorney, but your client may also have to pay the opposing side’s expense.
All legal proceedings require at least some preparation. However, when your witness is out of state, more planning is required to make sure that everything is in place to facilitate the deposition. In addition to adhering to the laws and regulations of that particular state, making the necessary applications in your state is also important to ensure that you are on the right path.
Further, since time is of the essence, it’s important to make sure that you meet specific deadlines. With an out of state deposition on hand, there are greater chances of delays. As a paralegal, you will need to factor in such issues and plan accordingly to ensure that there are no eventualities that will cause your client more money.
Planning ahead will also include preparation for the actual deposition day. With an out of state deposition, there is no running back to the office to get a file or document that was left behind. It’s vital that your attorney be equipped with all that is required to carry out the deposition in another state.
There are several logistical considerations involved in pursuing an out of state deposition. Once the preparatory legal filing and serving work is complete, both you and your attorney can focus on the general preparation that is required for a deposition.