Do you have a witness who can’t be present for a court hearing? Are you hoping to eliminate surprises and feel more confident entering a trial? Depositions are the ideal way to gather testimonies, evidence, and expertise from third parties before the case appears before a judge. If you are new to the legal process, or have been asked to give a court deposition, learn more about this process to help you understand why it’s so important.
What is a deposition?
A deposition is a witness interview that goes on the record before the trial takes place. Sometimes, depositions are recorded on paper only, but video depositions enhance the narrative and provide more credibility.
No matter what form they take, depositions are the foundation of a legal case. In fact, some are so convincing that they persuade the other party to drop the charges or settle the case outside of court.
How long should a deposition be?
A legal deposition can be as short or long as necessary for the witness to deliver their sworn statement. However, in California, depositions are limited to seven hours per day. This limit coincides with federal law.
Where do depositions typically take place?
An attorney’s office is the most common place for depositions to be held. Both parties can also agree to meet in a secure, third-party location outside the courthouse.
Conference rooms at court reporting firms are specifically designed to facilitate legal depositions in a private setting. Video conferencing is also available to allow for remote depositions to take place if the witness is out of state.
How does an attorney prepare for a deposition?
Attorneys with years of experience taking depositions may not require much preparation. However, it’s recommended that they answer the witness’s questions and tell them what to expect during the interview to make them feel as comfortable as possible. Keep in mind that attorneys are prohibited from leading or coaching the witness, which could affect the testimony the witness provides.
What should an attorney do during a deposition?
To help the process go smoothly, attorneys should do the following when taking depositions:
- Provide everyone in attendance with instructions before the interview begins.
- Make the environment as comfortable as possible for all participants.
- Instruct the witness to answer questions as succinctly as possible without providing any superfluous information.
- Minimize distractions by asking everyone to silence their cell phones and other noise-making devices.
- Avoid deviating from the written questions.
- Speak clearly so the witness and stenographer can understand.
Who should attend a deposition?
The recording is meant to be private and secure, so in most cases, the attorneys for both parties and the witness being interviewed are the only people who should be present.
Talty Court Reporters makes it easy to take depositions from anywhere in the country with our deluxe conference rooms and remote recording services. To learn more about this process, or to schedule a deposition in San Jose, please contact us today.
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.
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.
During a deposition , presenting a defense is as important as it is during a trial. Keep in mind that everything your client says will be recorded by the court reporter and will be part of the legal transcription of the proceeding. These tips will help you defend your client in San Jose before his or her deposition.
Preparation is critical.
The most important part of defending your client during a deposition happens before the questions even begin. Proper preparation is critical to an effective defense. Sometimes, because depositions happen outside of the courtroom, clients are even more likely to inadvertently volunteer information or become argumentative than they are during a trial, when things feel more formal. It is also essential that you counsel your client to be truthful during the deposition. Again, because depositions happen outside of the courtroom, clients sometimes incorrectly believe that they are under less of an obligation to be truthful than they would be on the witness stand. Remind your client that the court reporter will be transcribing everything that he or she says, and any misinformation provided during deposition can come back to haunt him or her if the case goes to trial.
You’ll need to be an advocate.
Although your ability to file objections will be more limited than during a trial, your client will still need you to act as an advocate. Even if you don’t ultimately have to speak up during the deposition, you should be there to intervene on your client’s behalf if necessary. Your client may be hesitant to follow your preparation instructions if the other attorney is goading him or her, so be a present and vocal advocate for your client who is ready to object or call for breaks as needed.
Learn the rules of the deposition jurisdiction.
Each jurisdiction has its own rules for deposition, so be sure you have done your homework in advance so you understand how objections are handled and your obligations to continue with a case after a deposition. Reviewing these rules is especially important for a video deposition in which the case is being adjudicated in another location.
Are you in need of court reporting, legal deposition, transcription services , or litigation services near San Jose? If so, then you may benefit from learning more about the discovery rule. Watch this video to find out how the discovery rule affects the statute of limitations.
Under the discovery rule, the statute of limitations can sometimes be extended. For example, if a person is unaware that they have been injured, then the statute of limitations does not begin until they do become aware of the problem or that something or someone was responsible for the injury. This type of situation is seen commonly in pharmaceutical litigation.
After spending countless hours preparing for a complex legal deposition in San Jose, concluding the deposition can bring a sense of relief. But in some cases, matters pertaining to the legal deposition aren’t yet finalized. You’ll still have to help your client navigate the errata sheet. The court reporter will attach the errata sheet to the transcript provided to you. Your client will have 30 days to review the transcript and sign the errata sheet from the date on which the transcript was made available.
Become familiar with the court’s ruling
As every lawyer should know, the errata sheet allows deposed witnesses to make changes to their deposition testimony after the fact. However, exactly which changes are allowed is an area that is less well understood. There are two schools of thought on this matter. The first is the permissive approach, which interprets Rule 30(e) to mean that the deponent can make substantive changes , including those that contradict earlier testimony. The second is the narrow interpretation, which limits changes to corrections of errors made by the court reporter. In the case of Grottoes Pallet Company, Inc. v. Graham Packaging Plastic Products, Inc., U.S. District Judge Urbanski ruled that because the defendant’s errata sheets contradicted prior testimony, they would be ignored. The errata sheets in question were also found to be supported only by perfunctory justifications. However, in issuing the ruling, Judge Urbanski noted that, rather than broadly apply a permissive or narrow interpretation of Rule 30(e), it was preferable for courts to evaluate each matter on a case-by-case basis moving forward.
Understand the ethical implications of errata sheets
Ethics rules require that lawyers avoid coaching clients about the answers they give under oath. These guidelines apply to errata sheets, even though they are not completed while the deponent is under oath. If a client contacts you a few days after a legal deposition with concerns about the testimony, you should carefully weigh your words before responding. If need be, you can directly inform your client that the opposing counsel may ask in court if the changes in the errata sheets were influenced in some manner. It’s best to take a proactive approach, such as by preparing your client well prior to the deposition and letting him or her know what to expect from the errata sheet afterward.
Talty Court Reporters, Inc. is renowned for our work in the legal industry and the support that your court reporters in San Jose provide for attorneys preparing complex and sensitive cases. However, our services are not limited to the legal field. You can use our skilled team of professionals for a range of business needs, whatever your field is.
We offer state-of-the-art conference facilities with rooms located throughout the state and in major cities across the country. These spaces are equipped with high-speed Wi-Fi, free parking, catered lunch menus, and a full-service refreshment bar. With the assistance of our experienced court reporters and staff, we can provide notary services, transcription, interpreting, videography, and document deposition and reproduction services. Whether you need a space for a small work session or a room for a major corporate conference, let our team help you set up everything you need for your business meeting so you can focus on doing the things that keep your business running.
If you’ve recently passed the Bar exam, you’re probably looking forward to conducting your first legal deposition in San Jose and litigating your first case. But it’s important to remind yourself that you’re still essentially a student. It will take a long time to become accustomed to working with a court reporter, arranging deposition services, and sorting through court transcripts. Since there will always be new things to learn about practicing law , it’s in your best interests to join your local Bar Association and look for a subgroup for new lawyers. Networking will help you expand your knowledge base while you make connections that could lead to a job.
Watch this video to hear what some established attorneys would tell new lawyers. Some of these recommendations include finding a mentor, memorizing the rules of evidence, and setting aside a portion of your practice for pro bono cases.
If you’re preparing for a legal deposition in San Jose or beyond, you’re probably exhaustively researching the case and developing your line of questioning. Another important way to prepare for a legal deposition is to incorporate certain technologies into the proceedings. For example, you should consider arranging deposition services that include video recording. Even if you aren’t conducting a remote deposition, recording your deposition can offer some surprising benefits.
It can help you prepare your case more efficiently.
When you’re getting ready for the trial, a thorough review of the transcript is essential. But adding recordings to your preparation materials can significantly enhance your efficiency. You’ll get a better sense of which lines of questioning will be most effective and which strategies the opposing counsel is likely to try.
It will prepare your witnesses for the courtroom.
Video deposition services will give you an edge when preparing your own witnesses for the trial. Lawyers typically use the mock examination strategy to prepare witnesses for the pressures of answering questions while under oath in front of a jury. This is certainly an effective method, but it can also be helpful to have your witnesses watch their own performances at the legal deposition. In doing so, your witnesses can develop a sharper understanding of how their body language, tone of voice, and choice of words might affect a jury. Reviewing the recordings can motivate your witnesses to look more presentable and put more effort into preparing to testify in court.
It can enhance the effectiveness of witness testimony.
Video depositions can not only help you and your witnesses prepare for trial, they can also help you substantiate your arguments in the courtroom . A jury can be far more effectively persuaded when viewing recordings compared to examining the written transcript. Before you introduce recorded evidence, remember to double-check your state’s guidelines on video testimony and any standing orders issued by the judge.
It will preserve the poor conduct of the opposing counsel.
Virtually every lawyer has endured at least one deposition during which the opposing counsel coached the witness, displayed abrasive behavior, or otherwise behaved in an unprofessional manner. Recording the deposition will allow you to preserve this poor conduct for a jury to view. In many cases, having a videographer in the room can convince the opposing counsel to maintain good behavior.
At Talty Court Reporters, Inc. , we know that your case preparation doesn’t end when business hours are over. That is why clients who use our deposition services in San Jose have access to our virtual case management system around the clock. Access the information you need about your case from any device with complete confidence in the security of your important information.
By logging into the virtual case management portal, you’ll find all of the tools you need for your case preparation. Your online case file repository will include information generated as part of our deposition services, from exhibits to deposition and court transcript files and video deposition files, when relevant. You can also manage a calendar to plot a timeline for your case preparation and schedule court reporting services when you need them. After using our deposition services, your case management portal will also include your invoices so you can manage your account in a single, convenient location.
- Legal Deposition San Jose
- Court Reporters San Jose
- Court Transcriptions
- Notary Services
- Court Depositions
- Interpretation Services
- Technology in Depositions
- Professional Transcription and Interpreting Services
- Talty Court Reporter's
- Transcription Services San Jose
- Legal Deposition
- Deposition Services
- Digital court Reporting
- Court Reporter
- Transcription Services Near San Jose
- Discovery Process
- Official Transcripts
- Real-Time Transcripts
- Professional Transcription Services
- Virtual Case Management
- Remote Deposition
- Deposition Testimony
- Legal Videography
- Video Deposition