Types of Questions Every Attorney Should Avoid During a Deposition
A legal deposition is your opportunity to gain information that can help you strategize your approach to a case and prevent delays once it is in progress. For these reasons, it is essential to be ready with the right questions. Are you looking for a court reporter or transcription service to prepare for an upcoming deposition near San Jose? If so, then continue reading to learn what types of questions should be avoided during a deposition.
Asking open-ended questions can be a strategy for eliciting damaging information from a witness, but it is important to choose questions that will provide you with concise and simple answers. To help achieve this, avoid asking questions that contain universal descriptors like “everything,” “everyone,” and “all.” Also, counsel your client to counter any open-ended questions that he or she is asked with a statement such as “I’ll answer to the best of my ability,” which will allow for clarification during cross.
Questioning in absolutes that include words like “always,” “all,” “never,” “every,” “only,” and “must” should be avoided. The reason for this is that the answers to questions like these leave no room for doubt and limit the witness’ options for responses. Also, advise your client to clarify his or her answers to any questions with absolutes that he or she is asked, and to think carefully about what he or she is agreeing to when responding to each question.
Lumping several questions or statements together, which is sometimes referred to as summary or compound questioning, can be deceptive and confusing for the individual being deposed. The reason for this is that an answer to one part of the question may be misunderstood as an answer to all the questions or another question that was included. You should also avoid summarizing statements into questions, as these can elicit misleading answers. As for your client, coach him or her to answer in full sentences, instead of just “yes” or “no,” and to individually address each part of any combined questions that he or she is asked.