Long before your client sits down near a court reporter , he or she needs to know exactly what to expect from a typical deposition held in San Jose. Asking and answering tough questions may be as natural to you as breathing, but for your client, it may be intimidating. Arguably, one of the most important benefits of thorough preparation is that it gives your client the confidence needed to effectively handle this stressful situation.
Explain the process of the deposition.
You should assume that your client is completely unfamiliar with the concept of legal depositions. Go over the basic facts, including the following:
- It does not take place in a courtroom.
- A court reporter will take down everything said on the record, verbatim.
- Testimony is given under oath.
- Giving testimony that contradicts later testimony at trial could be perjury.
Instruct your client to only give verbal answers—court reporters can’t record gestures. If your client doesn’t know something, he or she shouldn’t try to guess. Emphasize the importance of only giving as much information as was asked for. One-word answers are encouraged, if they answer the question.
Review documents and facts.
Although your client can answer “I don’t know,” if that’s the truth, it’s better if he or she knows the details of the facts of the case. Spend plenty of time going over any relevant documents and records. Being fully informed will help your client to confidently answer questions.
Help your client anticipate questions from opposing counsel.
It’s impossible to think of every single question opposing counsel will ask, but you probably have a fairly good idea of the direction of the questioning. Write down a list of every question you can think of, and put the toughest ones at the top. Go over these questions exhaustively until your client feels comfortable with them.
Give some last-minute tips.
You don’t want to overwhelm your client with information, but you may wish to remind him or her of some crucial tips just before the deposition. Remind your client to actively listen to every question, and not to answer the question before opposing counsel is done asking it. Let your client know that it’s okay to briefly pause—this gives you a chance to object if need be.
It’s possible for a witness’ answer to change between the time of the legal deposition and the trial. You can use the transcript made by the court reporter in San Jose during the deposition to impeach a witness during the trial. Watch this video to find out how one experienced trial lawyer uses cross-examination to build a case for perjury.
He reminds viewers that most jurors don’t know what a deposition is or what the role of the court reporter is. This is why it’s essential to use cross-examination to educate the jury. You can accomplish this by asking the witness questions like, “Do you recall giving your legal deposition?” and “Do you recall giving an oath to tell the truth under penalty of perjury, just like you did before you took the witness stand today?” These types of questions emphasize to the jury the significance of the changes in the witness’ testimony.
Depositions are the backbone of discovery, and it’s crucial to know the difference between proper and improper objections. Whether you’ll be conducting your first or your hundredth legal deposition in San Jose, take a few minutes to brush up on the basics of deposition objections. If you object improperly or too frequently, it may damage your own credibility and, more importantly, derail your client’s train of thought. Here’s a quick look at some proper objections.
Asked and Answered
Don’t allow opposing counsel to ask the same question twice. Some lawyers may ask repetitive questions without realizing it. In other cases, it’s a blatant attempt to get the witness to change the answer. Object to repetitive questions before your client has a chance to answer it and potentially change a few words in the answer.
Some lawyers persist in attempting to intimidate the deponent and opposing counsel by shouting, pointing fingers, and otherwise making a nuisance of themselves. If opposing counsel tries this with you or your deponent, stay calm and do not reciprocate. Instead, say to the court reporter, “Let the record reflect that Mr. Smith is yelling at my client.” For the record, you should clearly describe the type of harassing behavior, and that you will terminate the deposition unless it stops. Then, follow through if necessary.
Legal depositions are conducted to get the facts of the case on the record. Counsel should not ask a deponent to give a legal conclusion, especially if the deponent isn’t a lawyer. You can object to questions that ask for non-factual information.
Confidential, privileged relationships exist between patients and doctors, and clients and attorneys. Be wary of questions that ask the deponent to share information that was discussed in confidence. You can object to these questions based on the privileged relationship.
The mischaracterization of earlier testimony may be influential in a trial, and it confuses all involved parties as to the actual facts of the case. You can object based on opposing counsel’s mischaracterization of your client’s previous testimony.
Notary services are frequently necessary in legal proceedings, and other businesses often rely on notaries as well to certify their important documents. When should you consider using notary services in San Jose ? Here is a closer look at some common types of notarial acts.
If you have a deposition transcript or affidavit that needs to be certified, then you may need a jurat. Jurats, also called verifications of oath, are legal affirmations that the information included in a document is true. A notary will require a signatory to agree to the information in the document before signing it, and the signature received during jurat notarial services signifies that the person signing the document swears that its content is true.
Oral Oath or Affirmation
Notaries are also able to administer an oral oath or affirmation. These do not need to be tied to a document for the notary to administer them. When under an oral oath or affirmation, the individual who was sworn in by the notary swears that any statements they provide will be completely truthful. The difference between an oath and affirmation is minor, and which one to use depends on the situation. An oath is a pledge of truthfulness to a supreme being, such as the oaths taken in a courtroom with a hand on the Bible. An oral affirmation is a pledge of truthfulness based on a person’s own honor and reputation.
Copy Certification and Signature Witnessing
Not all notarial acts involve administering oaths and affirmations. Notaries can also authenticate documents. With copy certification, a notary attests that a copy made of an original document reflects the original exactly and does not have any missing parts. Notaries can also confirm that a signature on a document is legitimate. For signature witnessing, the person who is signing the document must be present and must provide identification, so the notary can validate that the signature is legitimate.
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