Updated: Jul 9, 2019
Has your attorney asked you to schedule depositions in one of your cases? It's not as scary as it sounds. The tips in this guide will help you make sure it goes smoothly!
Timing is key
It's tempting to schedule all the depositions needed in your case as soon as possible to get them off of your to-do list. However, the best strategy is to wait until the plaintiff is deposed first. The need for a deposition may no longer be necessary depending on the plaintiff's testimony. Keep track of the depositions you could schedule and reevaluate after the plaintiff's deposition has been taken.
Professional courtesy goes a long way
Check available dates with all parties to the case and the witness, especially if it is an expert. If you need to make arrangements for the location, check the dates with any conference room that will need to be reserved. Having trouble finding a suitable location? Many court reporting services have conference rooms or could locate one for you.
Remember to notice the deposition as soon as possible once a date is agreed upon. If another party has contacted you for available dates, respond as soon as you can.
Subpoena are necessary
So the witness your attorney is deposing agreed on a certain date, time and location but is nowhere to be found when the depositions comes to pass. Suddenly your client is responsible for the court reporter fees and even the opposing attorney's time. If the witness has been served with a subpoena, your client would have been protected from these preventable costs. Always issue a subpoena to the deponent and give him notice that the subpoena is coming so he will be able to accept service.
There's more to consider when choosing a location
Does anyone attending the deposition have a physical disability? Make sure the location can accomodate. You'll also want to confirm that the location has an internet connection, conference call capability and photocopier for the exhibits. Bonus points if you can arrange for breakfast items, coffee and other refreshments. Ask a litigation support company for help in making these arrangements.
Court reporters can help or hurt your case
Hire a certified court reporter, preferably one that is skilled in the technical language of your case. When it comes to finding the right court reporting service, the internet is your friend - take a look at the company's website, which should list the services they offer. Select one that offers digital transcripts and exhibits (an online portal is helpful) and guarantees a quick and accurate turnaround. The best court reporting services will have acces to conference rooms or be able to schedule a location for you as well. The more they can take off of your plate, the better!
Interpreters can help or hurt your case
Not all cases require an interpreter, but if the deponent does not speak English, you'll need to hire one. Ask other paralegals for a recommendation for a good interpreter, or perform a quick internet search. The interpreter should be a neutral party, have a proficiency in your cases's technical language, provide accurate interpretation and understand the legal and deposition process. If you are having trouble finding an interpreter yourself, an interpretation agency may be valuable in helping identify local resources.
Video depositions will capture a jury's attention
The jury will see the body language of the witness and hear the delay in responding tot he questions. As a result, they will more easily be able to evaluate the credibility of the witness and the impression will be more memorable. Ask your court reporting service if they offer videography as well. If not, ask for a recommendation for a videographer or find one through a litigation support vendor.
Depositions have a lot of moving parts and considerations, but are easy to coordinate with preparation and organization. There is an ecosystem of service providers that support the deposition services space and should be used to produce the best result possible. If you have any further questions, please get in touch!