And remember this: in a deposition, your side cannot win; it can only lose.
In a deposition, there are only two basic rules: (1) "Tell the truth" and (2) "Answer the question."
The second rule has several components. It is deceptively simple and the hardest to apply. Here's what you must do:
• Hear and Understand the Question
• Wait for the Question
• Don't Guess
• Don't Ramble
• Do Not Volunteer Information!
• Don't Argue
• Don't Try To Think and Hit – Just Answer the Question
• Your Lawyer is There To Help
• If I Object, Stop Talking
• Your Deposition Is Not an Ordeal – Ask for Break if Needed
• To Err Is Human -- You Can Correct Any Misstatements
• Admit Being Prepared if Asked
• Don't Get Too Comfortable
• Take Your Time – Think Before You Speak
• Don't Be Afraid of the Question "Why?"
• Beware of Absolutes
• Ask to See the Document Before Answering
(These tips first published by Michael Starr in The Practical Litigator, March 1997)
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