By Reed Morris
A deposition involves the taking of your testimony, under oath, usually during a pending lawsuit. An official court reporter will be present to record the opposing attorney's questions and your answers. There will be no judge, arbitrator, or jury present, just attorneys and authorized representatives of the parties to your lawsuit. In even the most mundane business or contract dispute, your deposition can significantly affect the value of your case, the likelihood of settlement, and your chances of winning or losing.
The stated reason depositions are taken is that court rules allow the discovery of all facts that may be relevant or that may lead to relevant evidence in a lawsuit. However, since the vast majority of cases never make it to trial, the primary goals of depositions go beyond pure discovery of facts. Depositions are tools used to weaken a case, drive settlement, or win a case by pretrial court decision.
A deposition is often the first—and may be only—point in a case when you will actually testify. Your testimony is critical for its substance, form, and even your demeanor. Note that within the realm of the truth (the substance), how you answer questions (the form), and how you come across (your demeanor), are all things that can be controlled.
The single most critical factor in deposition success is your preparation. Your lawyer needs to work with you to prepare in each of the following areas:
Mallon & Lonnquist, LLC, is a business and real estate law firm. Reed F. Morris is a Colorado business and real estate litigation attorney with Mallon & Lonnquist, based in Denver, Colorado. Reed regularly represents businesses and individuals in business transactions and disputes, from pre-filing through trial, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.