If you’re preparing for your first deposition, congratulations! You’ve taken another important first step in your legal career, and we’re here to support you on that journey. From applying to law school to passing the bar, you’ve already conquered a lot of ‘firsts’ in order to make it here. Searching for advice on taking your first deposition is a sign of responsibility and a positive work ethic.
Prepare by watching an experienced mentor or colleague.
If you can, try to follow at least one deposition from start to finish! Watch the preparation process that your mentor uses, and adapt any of the steps that work for you. Everyone learns and prepares differently, so your methods might not be identical. Don’t be afraid to experiment.
Of course, you should attend the actual deposition if possible. This will help you see how effective your preparation was. For example, if you’re prepared for a specific objection and it never comes, discuss the reasons why it didn’t happen with your mentor after the deposition. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!
Know your case backwards and forwards.
In a deposition, you need to have a comprehensive understanding of your file. One critical factor will be giving yourself enough time to learn the material. Be generous with your study time estimates and start reviewing documents as early as possible.
To avoid becoming too single-minded, try to play devil’s advocate during your reading. Memorizing key vocabulary won’t be very useful if you can’t understand the mechanism of injury. When taking a deposition, you need to have a well-rounded understanding of relevant legal precedents and you need to anticipate the points you’ll encounter from the opposition.
Determine your strategy and commit fully.
Before you ever walk into the room on deposition day, you should be fully committed to a prepared strategy. Understand the facts that you want to establish and the primary purpose of the testimony. Uncertainty can cause you to lose your momentum in questioning or ask questions that don’t further your objectives.
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