Legal cases are often won and lost, not due to facts or irrefutable forensic evidence, but by a witness’s ability to communicate their account convincingly. That’s why successful litigation depends on establishing credibility during your deposition. Here’s how to help ensure your witnesses get the facts across succinctly and consistently as you prepare to take your case to trial.
Consider Your Communication Strategy
Whether you’re taking a deposition or arguing your case before a judge and jury, it’s important to show rather than tell. This means guiding your audience to the same conclusions you came to without making declarative statements. To accomplish this, you must provide your witness with opportunities to highlight the merits of your argument naturally.
Prepare the Witness
While attorneys are prohibited from leading or coaching their witnesses, it’s perfectly acceptable to engage in witness preparation. This is advisable even if you believe a witness will come across as credible from the get-go. Witness preparation involves answering questions about what to expect during depositions and trials to prevent confusion and panic. After all, these reactions don’t lend credibility to a case.
When preparing your witness, communicate the importance of delivering concise answers. Giving testimony is not the same as having a conversation, and without preparation, a witness may be compelled to offer unnecessary information that could end up hurting your case.
Tell a Deliberate Narrative
Think of every case you handle as a narrative that needs to be told accurately and thoroughly. As an attorney, it’s your job to reconstruct the key events your witnesses observed by asking the right questions. Develop a strategy that hits on specific details that support your case.
Remember the importance of consistency in your content. If the witness changes their story or goes back to fill in any information they forgot the first time around, a rock-solid argument could start to seem less convincing. With all the facts outlined and contextualized consistently, your audience will feel more invested in your position.
Review Your Deposition Transcript
Depositions are often taken in advance and presented to a judge at a later date. To prevent errors or surprises that could compromise your credibility, carefully review any transcripts or videos for accuracy and clarity before submitting them to the court. If you feel anything needs to be clarified, take care of it immediately.
Record Your Deposition Professionally
Transcribing your deposition is certainly important, but videotaping the interview can enhance the narrative and provide more credibility. Choose a suitable setting to hold the deposition, and hire a legal videographer with access to professional recording equipment. Then, convey to the witness that they should arrive well-dressed for the interview.
Talty Court Reporters can help you establish credibility during your deposition by providing deluxe conference room rentals, professional video reporting, and expert transcription services. To learn more, or to schedule a deposition in San Jose, please contact us today.