All posts by Mark Miller

Litigator Tips for A Successful Deposition

At Phoenix Deposition Services, we’re proud to provide high-quality court reporters and various related deposition services as needed. These services are often vital to a given deposition, allowing for expedient tracking of records and statements and streamlining the preparation process for litigators on every side of a case.

Over the years providing these services, we’ve seen just about every possible situation or behavior from litigators – and we know the kinds of things that work and don’t work in this situation. Here are a few basic tips we can offer to litigators to avoid mistakes and ensure a smooth, effective deposition that accomplishes the desired goals.

Avoid Stipulations on Record

You may have the ability to put stipulations onto the record at the start of the deposition, but we generally recommend against this. This will allow the opposition to reserve their objections, and may lead to some trickle-down issues later on in the case. It’s advantageous to you if your opposition makes their objections during the actual deposition itself, allowing you to counter them immediately rather than waiting for trial.

Witnesses and Competence

In certain high-stakes cases, you may have witnesses looking to evade your questions. One of their primary methods for doing so will be to dodge claims of competence – they may say they don’t remember a given event, for instance, or don’t understand what you’re asking them.

If you sense this kind of difficulty could be at hand, it’s best to lead the witness to admitting their own competence at a separate angle. The best litigators try to accomplish this before they ask sensitive questions about the case, so that once those questions come up, witnesses cannot then back out and say they were not competent.

“Witching Hour”

Within the deposition world, this is a term used to describe when the patience of a given witness begins to wear down. Many opposition witnesses have been coached or have prepared responses, but you can wear away at this protection and strain them toward the truth if you work at it. Tactics here will vary depending on the subject matter and the witness’s personality.

Awkward Silence

A great tool at your disposal in any deposition? Simply being silent. Many people become very uncomfortable in prolonged silences, and witnesses often ramble or say things they wouldn’t otherwise when they’re uncomfortable.

Non-Speaking Objections

If your opposition counsel in a deposition is highly argumentative and will not stop objecting, you may want to consider requesting a non-speaking objection. If approved, this will force the opposing counsel to make their objections in a way that will not direct your witness toward answering in a way that benefits them, a common tactic used to evade the truth.

For more on how to avoid any mistakes during a deposition, or for information on any of our court reporter or video conferencing services, speak to the pros at Phoenix Deposition Services today.

making depositions convenient reporters

Making Depositions Convenient for Reporters

For several parties involved, from attorneys to judges and others, the certified court reporter provides numerous benefits. Depositions simply wouldn’t be as valuable or meaningful as they are without a great transcript and record-keeping from the court reporter, making their services essential.

At Phoenix Deposition Services, we’re also here to tell you about the other side of this coin: How clients, attorneys and others involved in the deposition process can take small little steps to assure the real time court reporter’s job is done correctly. We’re here for your convenience, of course, but this street goes both ways and the right approach here will ensure perfect record-keeping and transcripts from your deposition. Here are some important areas to go over with your attorney ahead of time.

Introductory Information

If at all possible, time should be taken ahead of the deposition to give the court reporter a basic list of names, terminology or other important words that might be used. This allows them to add this to their dictionary and note it before any possible errors take place. In turn, this will lead to a more error-free transcript and will also improve turnaround time if you require documents quickly after a deposition.

Regular Breaks

Everyone in a given deposition can benefit from breaks every now and then, particularly if the deposition is a long one, and the court reporter is no exception. This gives them a chance to rest and stretch, plus benefits you with a brief break from what can be stressful proceedings. Once again, this kind of approach will lead to a more accurate transcript.

Clear Expectations

Every deposition is different and has different goals, and for this reason, it’s vital for you and your attorney to communicate any special expectations before proceedings get underway. This includes things like making a request for a real time reporter in advance – these require special certifications. Other similar requests might include expedited services, immediate rough transcripts or video reporting services, all of which are easily handled so long as there’s adequate warning and preparation time.

Speaking Habits

Finally, while your attorney likely has experience with the deposition process, you should be made aware of a few speaking habits if you’ve never been in one before. Try not to talk too quickly or mumble, and never cover your mouth or obscure your voice in any way. Reporters are trained never to ask you to slow down, so doing this will ensure they can stay accurate.

In addition, while we know depositions are a place where arguments can take place, the interests of all involved should be on preserving a good record. For this reason, try to avoid interrupting or talking over others wherever possible, even in heated moments, to allow for better transcription of what is said.

For more on how you can help make things a little easier for your court reporter, or to learn about any of our certified court reporting services, speak to the pros at Phoenix Deposition Services today.