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How to Answer Deposition Questions

May 17, 2013

Posted in Business Litigation, Litigation Strategies

If you’ve personally been called to give a deposition, or have volunteered to do so in a business litigation matter, then you may be nervous or uncertain about what you should say or expect. That’s completely understandable. Your attorney should help by preparing you for your deposition – such as going over the facts of the case, instructing you on questions that are likely to be asked, and giving advice on how to maintain the credibility of your account.

That said there are a few strategic guidelines to follow when answering questions during your business litigation deposition:

Anticipate the Questions

Opposing counsel will be carefully scrutinizing everything that you say and do. That’s why it’s so essential that you prepare for the questions you’re likely to be asked and think about your answers beforehand. If you amble on, get tongue-tied or confuse the facts of the case, it will just be fuel for your adversaries’ argument. On the other hand, if you answer the questions clearly, consistently and with practiced confidence, your deposition will be more useful and credible.

Know the Facts of Your Case

In addition, know and understand the facts of your case and be familiar with the documents. Chances are, the relevant details of your case occurred months, if not years ago, so some of it may be vague. Refresh your memory by going over the facts of the case with your attorney, reviewing related materials, and discussing your plan. This will diminish the chances of you getting caught off guard by a question that you can’t answer. And if you don’t know an answer, just say so.

Stay Calm, No Matter What is Asked

Depositions can be intimidating, especially when you’re being questioned by opposing counsel, so it’s normal to react hostilely to certain questions by explaining or defending your answer, or attempting to convince them that what you’re saying is true.

Reacting defensively or negatively to a question can have a very adverse effect, however, and lead to further questioning or discovery. Always stay calm and take the time to think about your answers, especially if you’re asked a particularly difficult question.

Don’t Argue: Just State the Facts

Furthermore, the deposition is no place to try and influence or argue with somebody. There is no judge or jury at a deposition and nobody will be making a ruling on your case there. A deposition is purely for the purposes of collecting evidence. So don’t feel like you have to argue your point here. Simply state the facts and move on.

Keep Your Answers Brief

Finally, do not provide more information than what is asked or elaborate on your answers without being told to do so. This may result in you revealing more information than is necessary or details you wouldn’t have been asked about.

Simply stick to the facts, as they look to you, and answer all questions as briefly and consistently as possible.

Depositions are critical components of any business litigation dispute. Often, there are several witnesses, and various different sides to the matter, so it’s important to capture and preserve this evidence as accurately and quickly as possible. The better prepared you are for your deposition the better it will be for your case.

If you’re facing a business litigation issue, you need an experienced business litigation attorney who will help you properly prepare for your deposition and every other step of the lengthy trial process. The Law Offices of Tony T. Liu have been successfully representing clients’ and their business interests in Orange County for over 10 years.  Call today and make an appointment.