Preparing for a Deposition
No matter how hard you try and even work with a business attorney Tulsa, there is a good chance that you will one day be involved in a lawsuit. It may be in a personal capacity such as a car wreck case. It may be in a professional capacity as a corporate representative for your company. You could be a material witness to a crime. Or you could be a character witness for a close friend.
As a business attorney Tulsa, I have taken over 100 depositions and defended probably triple that number. I have taken depositions of doctors, corporate representatives, commercial safety experts, and truck drivers. I even once had to take a deposition of a person who did not speak English about how her sex life with her husband had completely stopped after a horrible accident where something fell of a wall and landed on her husband. That was very uncomfortable. Summarily, you could say that I have got some experience in the matter. Here are my recommendations for preparing for a deposition.
First, relax. At the commencement of every deposition, I told every witness this is not a Law and Order season finale. Most business attorney Tulsa will say something similar. Unless it is a video deposition, the deposition is likely a fact-finding expedition where the lawyer simply wants to know some information. Taking this understanding at the outset will help you considerably.
Second, in the event I am wrong about my first point, remember that you are not a lawyer. Whenever I meet people for the first time and learn I am a lawyer, I routinely hear that they considered being a lawyer because they love to argue. You may be gifted at argument. Maybe you even have some formal training from a debate context or something similar. But business attorney Tulsa go through rigorous process after process to learn what it is they do. I was a high school and college debater. I participated on two trial competition teams that you had to compete to even get a spot on. We then had to go through two semester long classes and beat the others in my class just to get a spot on the team. It was a very, very intense process. Without trying to sound arrogant, I have had numerous witnesses try to dodge my questions. Very few were successful. Do not try to rely on quick wit to best a lawyer who’s skilled at cross-examination. You will not like the results.
Third, understand that there is a bit of a hidden purpose behind the deposition. As an insurance defense lawyer, we had some very thorough reporting obligations to the insurance companies that hired us to represent their insureds. One element insurance companies always wanted to know was whether the Plaintiff (the person injured who filed the lawsuit) would present well in front of a jury. If the answer was yes, then the lawsuit was always worth more. If the answer was no, we knew that the jury would not like the Plaintiff and the lawsuit was worth less. I did the same thing as a Plaintiff’s business attorney Tulsa. I knew if my client was likeable then the lawsuit was inevitably worth more. Understand that the deposition is a bit of an interview. The attorney wants to see how well you present. They are analyzing your non-verbals, your tone, your communication style, and whether or not you can be easily manipulated. If you lose your temper easily, the business attorney Tulsa will know that you can easily be manipulated.
Here is one example of this. I once had a very contested lawsuit where we employed an expert physician to testify regarding the Plaintiff’s various injuries. The plaintiff’s business attorney Tulsa wanted to take what is called a video trial deposition. This is a deposition that is eventually played before a jury at the time of trial. The Plaintiff’s lawyers in this case were successful in upsetting the physician who became visibly angry. It did not go well for us. In fact, it was so bad that we made a strategic decision not to call the witness at the time of trial. This all occurred because our expert lost his temper.
You do not want to have a deposition go that bad. It can wreck your case and cost you, substantially.
Fourth, practice makes perfect. I once attended a seminar on deposition preparation where the business attorney Tulsa leading the seminar had a great idea. He said that to prepare clients for important depositions, he would solicit one of his law partners that the client had never met before to cross-examine the witness. This was a great idea. It was a total stranger grilling the client on touchy subjects with immediate feedback from experienced litigators. If you have a deposition coming up, I strongly recommend this. It could save you thousands, and even your business.
Fifth, there is no such thing as a stupid question. Whoever is presenting you for the deposition, ask that person anything and everything. Your business attorney Tulsa wants you to ask questions for many reasons. First, it shows you care. Second, it shows you’re engaged. Third, it shows you want to be prepared. Lastly, it shows that you trust the person representing you. The trust between an attorney and a client is a very special and critical element when it comes to the attorney/client relationship.
If you have an important deposition coming up, and do not have an attorney representing you, consider contacting the RC Law Group. I have considerable experience preparing clients for depositions, defending clients at depositions, and taking depositions of witnesses. I will spend time adequately preparing you to make sure that you are adequately prepared.
Do not be afraid of depositions. At some point, almost everyone is deposed and most make it through just fine. Like any other new process, the only thing you have to fear is fear itself. Help quash those fears by having an experienced lawyer sitting right next to you in the room. I have had numerous clients confess afterwards that they felt more at ease because I was sitting next to them. Many of my colleagues share similar stories with me routinely.
So call today! Remember, the initial business attorney Tulsa consultation is free.