Depositions are a useful tool for lawyers to discover the strengths and weaknesses of their clients’ cases. However, considering that most people have never taken a deposition before, the experience can be quite intimidating and anxiety-provoking. As a lawyer, it’s your job to earn your client’s trust and confidence so they feel more comfortable with the process. Follow these tips to help calm your client’s nerves as they prepare for their deposition.
Explain the Purpose of a Deposition
Make sure your client understands that a deposition is giving testimony under oath. They will be asked many questions, the responses to which will be recorded and sent to the attorneys representing both sides, as well as to the court. Explain that the purposes of a deposition include:
- Gathering facts and information
- Giving both sides a chance to assess the client’s credibility
- Allowing the attorneys a chance to sift through the client’s testimony for statements or facts that weaken one side or the other
Acknowledge That Your Client May Feel Stressed
You do your client a disservice if you present the deposition as a stress-free process. There’s nothing wrong with telling your client, “You may feel anxious at times while being deposed, and that’s okay. If you stay focused, you’ll do just fine.”
Hold Mock Depositions
There’s no substitute for rehearsing the process through vigorous mock depositions and cross-examinations. It’s better to expose an anxious client to some of the tension they will feel on deposition day rather than having it hit all at once when their performance matters most. If your client is particularly anxiety-prone, begin these preparations well in advance to allow time for stress-relieving measures.
Focus on the Process, Not the Results
When people focus on a task rather than the consequences of succeeding or failing it, they tend to perform better. This may explain, in part, why some people shine in tense situations while others fold under pressure. With this in mind, encourage your client to simply focus on answering each question honestly and concisely while letting you, their lawyer, worry about how the answers could impact the case. After all, far too many cases go off the rails when people obsess over testifying to enhance their position.
Visit the Deposition Location in Advance
An anxious client may feel better after seeing where the deposition, trial, or arbitration will take place. Drive with your client to the courthouse or visit the deposition room, if possible. At the very least, show your client a video depicting a trial or deposition so they understand what to expect.
While there’s no guarantee even the most thoroughly prepared client will perform well at deposition, these tips should help. At Talty Court Reporters, we utilize the latest technology to deliver the very best results in your legal case. Turn to us for top-quality court reporting and transcribing services, video and audio conferencing, and remote depositions in San Jose, CA. For additional information about our services or to request a cost estimate, please contact us today.