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What To Do And Not Do At Your Deposition

Depositions can be a stressful and anxious time. You may not be sure exactly how to respond to questions. Remember that answering questions at a deposition is not like answering questions on a school exam; you don’t need to know the answers to the questions posed and should never provide an answer to a question when you are not absolutely sure of the answer. A deponent should never seek to advocate a position, but should seek to limit his or her testimony to those facts within the deponent’s personal knowledge. There is no right or wrong answer, only the truth. Below is a list of “dos” and “don’ts” with respect to depositions.

DO:

  • Tell the truth.
  • Answer questions by simply stating the facts to the best of your recollection.
  • Listen closely to the question, pause/think and then answer only the question posed.
  • Qualify your testimony:
    • I don’t recall “at this time”
    • I don’t know “at this time”
    • “I’m not certain, but . . . . .”

DO NOT:

  • Feel you need to know the answer to every question.
  • Feel you need to give a particular answer.
  • Argue the case.
  • Let yourself get angry, confused, or tired,
    • Instead say: “I’d like to take a recess.”
  • Volunteer information.
  • Go beyond the scope of the question.
  • Hesitate to ask the questioner to rephrase a question that you don’t understand.
    • This includes words that may have different interpretations
    • This also includes words or phrases that are more complicated than it needs to be.

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