There are many things lawyers aren’t taught in law schools, and one of them is how to conduct legal depositions in unusual places around San Jose. Some of the strangest places lawyers have done legal depositions are hotel rooms, airports, prisons, and adult entertainment stores. These are obviously not ideal places to take down sworn testimony. Whenever possible, it’s best to have a court reporter meet you and the other parties at a private conference room. Even if you’ll be conducting a remote deposition, a private conference room is best because it eliminates distractions on your end, and it ensures you’ll have the right technology to conduct the deposition securely .
Court reporting agencies that offer conference room rentals also typically offer high-tech solutions to guarantee privacy and security. Due to the sensitive nature of legal cases, it isn’t advisable to conduct remote depositions with less secure connections. Sophisticated video conferencing platforms even allow private chat options, which let clients communicate with their attorneys confidentially.
Mistakes in a deposition may mean the difference between winning and losing at trial. If you have run into errors with one of your depositions in San Jose , then read on for tips on how to deal with this problem.
Address Them in Time
Deponents have 30 days to review the deposition transcript after being notified by the court reporter that it is available. Keep in mind that the deponent is not required to read over her testimony unless she or another party requests it.
Request Review on Record
During the deposition, ask the deponent to review the transcript once she is informed that it is available. If you choose to use deposition testimony against the witness, and she must admit that she reviewed the transcript and determined it to be correct, then making this request may benefit you at trial and give your argument more strength. Developing a standard time to request a review may make it easier for you to remember during each deposition.
Understand the Review Process
Within 30 days of being notified that the transcript is available, the witness should read and review the transcript, as well as create a list of any changes that she wishes to make. Also, she must sign a statement that explains the reasons for each of the changes. If the witness does not provide any reasons, then she will be bound to her original testimony. Also, the court will assess whether any changes requested serve a legitimate purpose. If the answers are changed, note that the court reporter will attach the signed list of changes to the transcript, and both the original and new answers will be included in the record that was generated during discovery.
Consider Not Requesting Review
On the other hand, if you noticed a mistake that the witness made and you would like to use this against her at trial, then you may not want to request that she review the transcript and submit a signed list of changes and reasons for them.
To get the most of a deposition , you need a clean transcript to refer to when it’s complete. Although your court reporter in San Jose is trained to maintain the utmost accuracy when preparing transcripts, there are many things you can do to ensure that things go as smoothly as possible. During your next deposition, keep these tips in mind as you ask whatever questions you have.
Every time you speak during a deposition, keep in mind that you are creating a written record as well. Use clearly worded questions that are phrased in a way that is easy to understand. Avoid adding superfluous words. If the witness asks you to repeat the question, do so yourself rather than asking the court reporter to read it back, so that a second record of the question is created. Allow witnesses to answer questions completely before you start addressing them again, so you don’t talk over each other. Consider making a video of the deposition as a backup, in case there are any questions about the written transcript.
Legal translation services must be completely accurate to protect the rights of everyone involved in the case. When you need interpreting services for a deposition or other part of the case, choose an interpreter who not only knows the language but who also has experience in the legal field to avoid complications in translating important legal terms. Often, the company you use for deposition services in San Jose can provide legal interpreting for you. When working with a translator, overcome common challenges by using these strategies:
Challenge: Translating Legal Terminology
Although working with an interpreter with legal knowledge can alleviate some of the inherent problems in translating legal terminology, you can ensure that things go smoothly by creating a list of legal terms that you plan to use frequently during the deposition. For instance, if you are deposing a witness regarding a case that involves a real estate transaction, you may rely on language that is pertinent specifically to real estate law. Providing a list of common legal terms before the deposition allows your interpreter to verify his or her translations in advance and will also help if he or she must translate any legal documents.
Challenge: Using Different Dialects
Before the deposition, verify not only the language that needs to be translated but also the specific dialect of that language. Some language dialects are so different that the speaker of one dialect can’t fully understand another. In other instances, dialectical differences may be subtle, but losing any nuance of meaning could jeopardize your case. Inform your interpreter the exact dialect to be used in advance to avoid this issue.
Challenge: Translating Too Much or Too Little
It’s not necessary to translate every utterance during a deposition, but failing to translate essential points compromises the rights of the witness and the overall case. During a deposition, be specific about what exactly needs to be translated so that you don’t lose time to translating unnecessary points and won’t risk overlooking an important statement or question that goes untranslated.
Depositions are one of the most flexible discovery devices attorneys have at their disposals. There are far fewer rules for deposing people than there are interrogatories and requests for admissions. Here are some of the people who may be brought before a court reporter in San Jose for a deposition.
Any party to the case can be deposed during the discovery phase. A party can be either a person or an organization. In the event that the party is an organization, employees or other people with knowledge of the events may be deposed. In some cases, a deposition notice sent to a party organization may simply specify that the person with the most knowledge of the situation should attend the deposition. Non-parties may also be deposed, such as witnesses to events or people with knowledge of actions by the parties in the case. For non-party deposition witnesses, the deposition notice also requires a subpoena. Both party and non-party deponents can also be required to produce documents related to the case. The request for documents should be included in the deposition notice.
Court reporters are an essential part of getting your job done as an attorney, whether you’re using transcripts they prepared in court to get ready for an appeal or hiring them for deposition services in San Jose . Since court reporters perform such an important function, it makes sense that you would want to give them all the support they need to get the job done. Here are some of the things your court reporter wishes you knew—keep them in mind for your next deposition.
Court reporters rely on attorneys to manage the conversation.
It’s extremely difficult for your court reporter to accurately transcribe everything being said when people are shouting over each other, mumbling, or speaking too fast. Your court reporter will be reluctant to interject, so he or she will rely on you to ensure that there is an orderly flow to the questioning and that witnesses speak up and speak clearly. If necessary, your court reporter will ask for an adjustment, but you can help him or her focus on the transcript by managing the conversation yourself.
Court reporters can’t discuss your client’s case.
Attorneys frequently ask court reporters to offer an opinion about their client’s case. They ask the court reporter to weigh in on how witnesses were acting or if he or she thinks that the case has merit. Although court reporters are privy to many different cases, they are strictly impartial and focus exclusively on creating an accurate transcript. In order to remain professional, court reporters will not comment on your case or their opinion of the deposition.
Court reporters need breaks.
Depositions frequently take many hours, and attorneys will often order lunch for the participants so that there is no need to take a break. Because court reporters can record the proceedings and eat at the same time, working through lunch means they don’t get a break. Schedule breaks in your deposition for your court reporter to eat, use the restroom, and relax for a few minutes, so he or she can return refreshed and ready to focus.
Presentations are part of life for lawyers, but they’re not quite like other things you do all day, like depositions or examining witnesses in court. The things you do to ensure you succeed in those tasks may not help you deliver a great presentation. Just as you need to prepare for depositions in San Jose differently than you do for trial work, you need to use the right technique to get ready for your presentation.
Watch this video for tips for lawyers for making excellent presentations. One of the biggest mistakes lawyers make is going into presentations with a script. After all, law school stresses the importance of impeccable preparation, but with a presentation, scripting your remarks makes you sound stiff and nervous. Instead, use your personality during a presentation to engage with your audience and get the kind of interaction you want.
For new attorneys, your first deposition can be as nerve-racking as it is exciting. Before you even begin, hire an experienced court reporter and make arrangements for any additional services you will need, such as interpreting services or video deposition services in San Jose. As you get ready for your first deposition, here are the things you need to know to make it a success.
Know What You Want to Get Out of the Deposition
One of the first things to consider when you’re preparing for a deposition is if you think the case will be settled out of court or if you will end up going to trial. If you believe that a trial is the likely outcome, then you may wish to hold back some of your strongest questioning and evidence so that you can rely on it to surprise the witness in court. If you think that settling is more likely, you may want to use all of the evidence and your toughest questions during the deposition.
Once you decide where you think the case is heading, determine two or three points you wish to get from the witness’ testimony. This will help you choose the questions you want to ask and what evidence you may wish to present during the deposition.
Phrase Your Questions Carefully
Before you begin to write your questions, decide if you plan to approach the witness as though you are conducting a direct examination in court or like a cross examination, which is likely to be more adversarial. Generally, if the deposition witness will be available to testify at trial, then you may wish to make your questions open-ended, like a direct examination, to simply get his or her story that you can use with more aggressive questioning in court. If the witness will not be at trial and the deposition will be played via video, treat it more like a cross-examination.
Remember Your Court Reporter
During all questioning, be sure to speak clearly so that the court reporter can accurately record the interactions. Be sure you understand when your court reporter can deliver your transcripts to you. Don’t forget to give everyone, including your court reporter, breaks during the deposition process.
Organization may seem like an essential part of any legal business, but if you find yourself constantly forgetting to log hours or trying to schedule your court reporter in San Jose at the last minute, then you could be a disorganized lawyer. If you think that title could apply to you, here are some of the strategies you can use to get your organization under control.
Do Small Tasks in Real Time
Sometimes, tasks seem so small, like jotting down a record of the time you spent on the phone with a client, that putting them off until later doesn’t seem like a big deal. The problem is that later never comes because you forget or because your list of postponed tasks seems so long and daunting that you don’t know where to begin. When small tasks pop up, such as noting billable hours, reserving a deposition space, or finding interpreting services, do it right then instead of procrastinating. You’ll feel less overwhelmed and have fewer things to keep organized.
Take Control of Your Email
Email has morphed from a convenient way to communicate to a major distraction for many people. To prevent your commitment to getting organized from getting eaten up by your inbox, set a schedule for managing your emails. Check your emails only at specific times each day, and turn off the ping on your smart devices so you won’t be alerted when new messages come in. Let clients and coworkers know that they should call you in urgent situations, and that for everyday requests, you will get back to them during your usual email time. Although it may seem counterintuitive, this will make your email communications more efficient.
Let technology help you achieve your organizational goals. Say goodbye to stacks of papers and opt for digital court reporting and video depositions. Use digital transcripts, digitize evidence and exhibits, and experiment with online scheduling software instead of using paper calendars. These tools will keep papers off your desk and information at your fingertips.
When you’re renting conference room space, considering how the room is set up can be as important as hiring your court reporter or setting up any necessary interpreting services. Before your deposition in San Jose, look out for the factors mentioned in this video when selecting your conference room.
Start by evaluating the general setup of the room. Is there room for the court reporter to sit in a location where it will be easy to hear everyone clearly? If you’ll be conducting a video deposition, can the video equipment be set up in a location where audio and visual will be clear and crisp? You should also consider the table shape, available seating, technology, and lighting in every conference room you consider renting.
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