FAQ’s: Deposition Do’s and Dont’s

How to Prepare for & Give A Great Deposition 

  • Understand the deposition process
  • Understand the lawyer’s objectives
  • Always tell the truth
  • The best answers, if truthful are:
    • “Yes”
    • “No”
    • “I don’t know”
    • “I don’t remember”
  • Listen to the question, pause, & think before you answer
  • Do not answer a question unless you clearly understand the question
  • If you do not understand the question, just say so!
  • If you do not know the answer, say “I don’t know”
  • If you do not remember the answer, say “I don’t remember” and then stop talking
  • Do not confuse “I don’t know” with “I don’t remember”
  • Don’t answer “Yes” or “No” to a question if the question can’t be answered accurately with “Yes” or “No”
  • Never speculate or guess
  • Answer questions based on your own personal knowledge
  • If questioned about a document, ask to review it before you answer
  • Take the time to read the document fully before you respond
  • If asked to assume a fact, make it clear it is the attorney’s assumption, not yours
  • Answer only the question asked
  • Never volunteer information
  • Do not try to restate or fix the attorney’s question
  • Do not let the attorney put words in your mouth
  • Do not think out loud
  • Do not apologize or make excuses
  • Do not offer your comments about the quality of the question
  • Do not exaggerate or overstate
  • Give the shortest possible truthful answer and then stop talking
  • Use a verbal “Yes” or “No”
  • Do not ramble or go off on tangents (see do not volunteer above)
  • If the attorney interrupts you before you finish your answer, tell him or her that you were not finished
  • Pay close attention to the questions
  • If your attorney object to the question, stop talking and listen closely
  • After your attorney objects, wait before you answer to see if the attorney is instructing you not to answer
  • If your attorney instructs you not to answer, don’t answer
  • Be calm. Never get angry.
  • Do no argue with the opposing attorney or opposing side
  • This is a serious process so no  jokes
  • Do not interrupt the question
  • Pause and think about the question before you start your answer
  • Talk slowly (makes it easier for you to articulate your thoughts and the Court reporter will love you for it)
  • Do not look at your own attorney for help
  • Correct any mistakes you made during your deposition
  • Ask for regular breaks
  • Do not use alcohol or drugs that can affect your performance
  • Dress in a way that makes you comfortable or confident.
  • Give the shortest but truthful answer
  • Watch out for questions that assume facts that are not true
  • Do not let the attorney limit your choices
  • Do not let the attorney incorrectly summarize your testimony
  • Beware of absolutes like “always” and “never”
  • Remember that nothing is “off the record”
  • Look out for the “… is that all?” question.
  • There is nothing wrong with saying you met with your lawyer before the deposition
  • Do not bring any documents to the deposition unless your lawyer tells you to do so
  • Do not take notes in the deposition. You’ll have to give that to the attorney when you’re done and you don’t want to risk disclosing confidential information.
  • Tell you lawyer your concerns before the deposition
  • Admit the obvious, even if it hurts.
  • Do not let the attorney bully you
  • Do not be evasive
  • Look out for “leading” questions
  • Do not offer to do anything after the deposition ends
  • Discuss questions you have with your lawyer at the next break
  • Be confident and strong

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