Deposition Defense Strategies from Legal Experts - BG+W

By Sayyora Badalbaeva, Esq.

At Bradley, Gmelich + Wellerstein LLP, our representation of our clients includes aggressively defending the depositions of our clients and their employees. This service includes preparing clients to tackle the adversarial proceeding with poise and finesse. Naturally, no amount of preparation can eliminate the general feeling of dread when you are in the hot seat. Facing a civil deposition can be a nerve-wracking experience. Whether you are a defendant or a witness, the interrogation-style questioning can feel like navigating a minefield. However, with the right preparation and mindset, and with the help of your attorney, you can turn this intimidating process into an opportunity to protect your interests effectively.

Preparation is the key to mastering a deposition. Together with your attorney, you will have the tools to best defend against a civil deposition. Until that day comes, though, we will provide you with a strategic guide on how to master your deposition:

Know the Case Inside Out

Understanding the case is fundamental. Review all relevant documents, correspondence, and evidence. Be intimately familiar with your own statements and actions pertaining to the case. Knowing the details can help you anticipate questions and respond confidently.

Hone Your Testimony

Practice delivering clear, concise, and consistent answers. Avoid guessing or speculating. If you don’t know the answer, it’s okay to say so. Always tell the truth, as inconsistencies can be used against you. Remember, it’s not just what you say but how you say it, so maintain composure and professionalism throughout.

Listen Carefully

Pay close attention to each question. Ensure you understand it fully before answering. If a question is unclear or ambiguous, don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Take your time; there’s no rush to respond. Think before you speak to avoid misunderstandings or misinterpretations.

Stay Calm and Composed

Depositions can be emotionally charged, but maintaining your composure is crucial. Stay calm, even if the questions are aggressive or confrontational. Avoid arguing with the opposing counsel or becoming defensive. A composed demeanor projects confidence and credibility.

Beware of Traps

Opposing counsel may try to trip you up or lead you into admitting something unfavorable. Be cautious of trick questions or hypothetical scenarios designed to elicit damaging responses. Stick to the facts and avoid speculation or conjecture.

Consult with Your Attorney

Your attorney is your strongest ally during a deposition. This is why we at Bradley, Gmelich + Wellerstein LLP are providing this guide to you in case your deposition is upcoming. Before the deposition, discuss strategies, potential questions, and legal defenses. During the deposition, your attorney can object to improper questioning or provide guidance on how to respond. Trust their expertise and follow their advice.

Use “I Don’t Recall” Appropriately

If you genuinely do not remember something, it is acceptable to say, “I don’t recall.” However, overusing this phrase can undermine your credibility. Only use it when you genuinely cannot remember, and be prepared to explain why certain details are unclear.

Be Mindful of Non-Verbal Cues

Your body language can speak volumes. Maintain eye contact, sit up straight, and avoid fidgeting or defensive postures. Non-verbal cues can influence how your testimony is perceived, so project confidence and attentiveness.

Review and Clarify the Transcript

After the deposition, review the transcript carefully for accuracy. If you identify any errors or misunderstandings, inform your attorney promptly. They can address discrepancies through corrections or clarifications before the deposition is finalized.

Maintain Confidentiality

Avoid discussing the deposition with anyone other than your attorney. Anything you say outside of the deposition could potentially be used against you. Respect the confidentiality of the process to protect your legal interests.

Employer Takeaway

If you are notified that your deposition is requested by opposing parties, do not worry. You are in good hands. The attorneys at Bradley, Gmelich + Wellerstein LLP will prepare you with the necessary skills to master your deposition. By working closely with your attorney and following the guide provided above, you can navigate the deposition process with confidence and safeguard your rights effectively. Remember, the goal is not just to survive the deposition but to emerge stronger and better positioned for the legal proceedings ahead.

About the Author

Sayyora Badalbaeva, Esq. focuses her practice on civil litigation, representing clients against claims involving general negligence, premises liability, product liability, and personal injury.
Sayyora earned her Juris Doctor from Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law in 2022. While attending law school, Sayyora served as a law clerk for the Pepperdine Legal Aid Clinic at the Union Rescue Mission, helping the underserved community with criminal as well as family legal matters. She has also served as a law clerk for the Pepperdine Community Justice Clinic advising non-profit organizations on employment law as well as intellectual property matters.