Deposition. Just thinking about the word suggests interior conference rooms, old office chairs, and too many people. Alternatively, maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who has had bright, airy conference rooms with new chairs? No matter what space you’re in, here are a few quick tips to make sure that your deposition experience goes as smoothly as possible.
A Cheat Sheet to a Semi-Comfortable Depositions
- Don’t be afraid to ask for a break. If you need to use the restroom, ask if a break can be scheduled. It is typical to take a break once an hour.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for a refreshment. You will be speaking for hours on end. Vocal cords get sore. You may need a bottle of water nearby to slake your thirst. You might want to pack some throat lozenges to soothe your throat during a break.
- Dress appropriately. Even though you’re there for your subject matter expertise, your physical appearance is also important. Video depositions are common at high-level litigation. That means that your deposition might be played in a courtroom to a panel of jurors. Wearing a suit and looking professional lends a lot to the credibility of your expert opinion.
- Don’t wear a tight suit. You’re going to be sitting in a conference room chair for several hours. Don’t wear an outfit that is too tight. You’ll be miserable and uncomfortable, and it will affect how you present your opinion, which could negatively impact your client.
- Don’t eat onions for lunch that day. You’re going to be in close quarters with several human beings for hours, if not a few days. It might be best not to eat a lunch that will leave you with less than pleasant breath.
- Stick to your subject matter expertise. You were hired to provide your expertise on one specific topic. Don’t wander from that topic. Don’t discuss your opinion of the case. You’re only offering an opinion on one component of the case. Don’t opine on whether a party is liable. You need to stick with the appropriate standards for your industry and whether the conduct in question met those standards. It is not up to you to determine liability.
- Watch your face. Your face often gives away a lot more than you realize. It is essential not to make discourteous faces. Yes, an attorney will ask the same question in six different ways, but that is for your attorney to object to. Your job is merely to answer the question. So, try not to make faces.
- Can’t be longer than 7 hours per day. If you’re testifying in a federal court matter, the deposition is limited to seven hours per day. Your brain will likely begin to feel like mush far before you get to the seventh hour, don’t worry. It happens to everyone.
There you are: - the top eight tips to survive your deposition. If you keep these in mind, you’ll be able to survive, potentially even thrive, in a deposition-like environment. If you want some one-on-one guidance and preparation, schedule a strategy session with our Chief Expert Owl to prepare for your next deposition.