An attorney will meet with the client before the deposition to go over what we just discussed. The attorney will stress to the client to be completely honest with them and their staff about any bad things that might come out in the deposition.

Anything discussed with your attorney and staff is privileged and confidential.

You and your attorney will review any interrogatories to you – written questions from the other side that you may have answered in writing earlier in the case – because the opposing attorney will likely use these in the deposition.

The opposing attorney may ask you to bring documents to the deposition. Only bring documents that you are asked to produce. Don’t offer documents that are not requested. Your attorney will help you decide what was requested and what was not.

Listen to the questions completely before answering. Answer the questions as concisely as possible, with a simple “yes” or “no,” if the question does not require a longer response.

Clients must answer each question as truthfully as they can, but also with as short an answer as possible. A good piece of advice is before answering any question, look straight at the attorney asking the question, listen carefully until the question is over, pause at least two or three seconds, and then politely and calmly give a concise answer.

If you say more than three sentences, you have probably said too much. Make sure that every answer is formal and controlled so that you are controlling the tempo of your deposition. If you pause before every question, regardless whether you need to or not, it is less obvious on the more difficult questions when you may actually need extra time to think before answering.

Be polite because your conduct and demeanor may be more important than the answers you give. This is especially true if the deposition is recorded on video, which is common in high stakes or particularly contentious cases. Try to make a good impression. Remain calm, try not to show nervousness, and always respond courteously.

If you don’t know the answer to a question, just say so. Don’t speculate or guess.

You may consult with your attorney during break times in the deposition, and sometimes during the deposition itself. Do not be afraid to ask your attorney questions if you feel it is important but keep these consultations to a minimum. Your attorney cannot tell you how to answer but can help clarify the question.

Civil Trial Practice