Is It Important to Prepare a Witness for A Deposition?
My goodness! … The real question is how much time do I need spend with my clients to prepare them for deposition testimony? A deposition is one of the most important events in a client's legal case. Most lawyers schedule their clients to come in just about 30 minutes before their scheduled deposition to prepare them. How wrong this is!
Traffic delays alone in the Metro Atlanta area can change a preparation deposition time to actually no time at all.
I always schedule a client to come in a week before their scheduled deposition time to prepare them, and I spend between one hour to one and a half hours with them. This is a huge amount of time preparing a client for this event but the results are amazing. At this time, the medical records are organized and indexed. The wage records are calculated. Many times (although not in all cases) we have a timeline prepared when there is a lot of complicating facts involved in the case.
Remember, that it is unethical to get a client to try to color or embellish their testimony. But deposition preparation is meant to clear up many run-on statements that a client is prone to make. It promotes clarity of thought and it gives a client a better understating of what is expected of them. A limited, somewhat structured flow of information is what is needed during a deposition and our preparation promotes that objective.
It is good, as part of the preparation of my witness, to ensure they are comfortable with what they say and what they remember, and it is OK if they do not remember all dates or events. A deposition is not a memorization contest nor it is a pass or fail test. But how the insurance lawyers view my client during and after the deposition testimony can make a huge difference in how their legal case flows after this very important event.