Whether you are in a court of law, an administrative hearing or a civil deposition, providing testimony is not an easy matter. It requires knowledge of your topic at the very least, but it also requires confidence as well as authenticity.
Depositions are an integral part of the legal discovery process and are not to be taken lightly. It is the “other side’s” opportunity to gather information and do as much damage to the opponent’s case as possible. Often the success of the case for the prevailing party rises or falls on the results of a deposition.
“Take the initiative to get on the same page with your lawyer rather than waiting for them to suggest it.” – Francie Koehler
Francie Koehler, host of PI’s Declassified! radio show and a longtime private investigator and I talk about this important topic in her latest episode. I share my deposition experiences and the key elements I use to make sure my testimony is well received.
Listen to the podcast here:
Francie Koehler, CPI, CCDI (@specialcirz) is the host of PI’s Declassified!, a radio show lets you listen in as authentic private investigators discuss their real-life cases. Every week, private detectives (like me) spill the beans, — discussing investigator specialties that you wouldn’t even imagine exist! You’ll hear stories about lies and false confessions… tracking down missing persons… forensics… workplace violence… innocent people freed from prison… human trafficking… and other tantalizing cases. Tune in every Thursday 12PM Eastern Time and 9 AM Pacific Time on the VoiceAmerica Variety Channel.
How do you prepare for depositions or when giving testimony? Let me know in the comments below.
So you’ve collected some great evidence from your latest case and now you have to testify as a witness. But first you’ll be summoned to a deposition.
What’s a deposition? A deposition is your sworn, out-of-court testimony that takes place during the fact-finding point in the case, which is called “discovery.” In a deposition, opposing counsel will ask you questions about your evidence and your role in the case, and then your recorded and transcribed answers will become official court record.
Depositions typically take place in a law office, but can sometimes occur over the phone or via video conference. You’ll be accompanied by your client’s legal team, opposing counsel, a court reporter, and many times a videographer or judge.
The difficulty is that the process can take several nerve-wracking hours, and one vague answer might derail the case. So, what can you do?
Here are 10 pointers an investigator can use to give an effective deposition: