Part five of this series explained the importance of depositions. Part six will discuss how you should prepare for a deposition and whether you should be represented during your deposition.
Am I Required to Attend a Deposition?
The short answer is, yes. If you are a party to a lawsuit, you will likely only receive a notice of deposition. This is a formal, written direction to appear at a particular place on a particular date and time to answer questions under oath. If you are not a party to a lawsuit, you will likely receive both a notice of deposition and a subpoena. A subpoena is essentially a court order requiring the person(s) designated in the subpoena to appear at the indicated time and place. A person that ignores either a notice of deposition or a subpoena is subject to being in contempt of court. In other words, unless you are able to work something out with the other party (or their attorney), you are required to abide by a lawful notice of deposition and/or subpoena.
Should I Be Represented by an Attorney for My Deposition?
Ultimately, this depends on the subject of the deposition and how comfortable you are going into a deposition without an attorney. If you are a party to a lawsuit, it is likely you already have an attorney. If you are not a party to a lawsuit, the choice is yours. One factor to consider is whether anything you testify will open yourself up to liability. If the deposition simply pertains to your knowledge of a certain event, you might not need to spend money on an attorney to represent you. If you are uncertain as to whether you should have an attorney present for your deposition, contact one today for a consultation. Make sure you do so well before the deposition, as attorneys’ schedules are often booked in advance.
How Do I Prepare for My Deposition?
Your level of preparation will depend on the purpose of the deposition – i.e. are you a party to the lawsuit or a witness? What are the claims and issues being discussed at the deposition? How large is the part you played in the lawsuit? If you are a party to a lawsuit or decide to seek representation, you should meet with your attorney to prepare. Ask your attorney to provide expected topics and go over potential questions. You may also want to review key documents, including emails, text messages, social media posts, and/or messages, etc. Make sure you clearly articulate any concerns you have and ask for guidance on how to address those concerns.
Finally, make sure you understand whether your deposition will be videotaped. Videotaping is not very common, but it will affect your preparation for and behavior during the deposition. You can read more about this in part eight of this series. If your deposition is going to be videotaped, ask your attorney what you should wear for your deposition and inquire as to the importance of eye contact and body language.
If you have been sued or have been subpoenaed to testify at a deposition and need to understand your options, please contact Grewal Law PLLC to schedule a free consultation today.