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.