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Not a credit case, but I am being deposed in a couple of weeks.


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I was just wondering if anyone had any helpful tips, never been in a deposition.  I am not a party to the case, I am an expert witness for the defense.  I reviewed the particulars of the case, and wrote a report based on my expertise.

So the defense lawyer told me the other side does want to depose me, but didn't have a date, and that they had to come to me.  I know she will help me, but thought if any of you had any tips.  I think I just have to remember to take a breath before I answer anyting, and only answer the question, don't elaborate? anything else?

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Expect questions that are personal and have nothing to do with the case. Hopefully the defense will provide an attorney to represent you. If they don't, request they provide one.

They will question your background, education, and credentials to be an expert.

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Good.  Yes that is not a problem, the defense has my resume, I have certifications to show, and I have been doing this for 25 years. (not being an expert witness, but my profession)  It is something I do at least 15 times a day on any given day I am at work.

I just don't them want to twist my words or intentions, so I will stick to the question, answer after thinking about it, and not give a personal opinion, but only professional one. (I have personal opinions about the case, but might not be approipriate lol)

The lawyer for the defense will be present.  I understand she is not "my" lawyer, and my testimony should be objective, and non changing no matter what side I am testifying to.  I think that will be easy in this case, but you know how some lawyers try to make what you say into something different. :)  I read the depo the plaintiff's lawyer did on the defendant, and she tried all kinds of tricks on her.

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You will try to keep it professional; they will try to make it personal. This is not court where they will stick to the issues of the case. They will make the deposition about you.

Their job is to prove that you are a quack. That even if you do it 15 times a day, you are not an expert. They will start asking where you went to high school and what kind of grades did you get. Where did you study professionally and what kind of grades did you get? What is your relationship with the defendant? How many times have you testified as an expert witness? If this is your first time, how can you be an expert?

In a deposition they are allowed to ask ANY question that can lead to admissible evidence. Since you are testifying as an expert, this will be pretty broad when it comes to your background. Make sure the defenses attorney objects to any questions that are out of bounds. If you are not sure look at him/her and ask if you should answer.

 

Good luck. I kind of enjoyed mine. I was not an expert witness, but was attached to the case by services performed. They were barking up the wrong tree trying to get information and it took them 3 hours to figure it out.

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Thank you.  It helps to kind of know what to expect.  I was actually referred to this law firm by a physician I work with becasue here, I am one of the experts as to what this case pertains to.  Probably won't be good enough for them lol.  That is ok, I just have to remember to let my head rule and not my heart. (now that will take some displine)  I can at least ponder these types of questions now, and be more prepared.  The defense lawyer said she would work with me to help me prepare, probably with the types of questions she expects them to ask. 

 

I guess they deposed the Plaintiff's expert, and it did not go well for her.  The lawyer said she was not prepared, and contradicted herself a lot.  I don't want to do that.  Just psyching myself up!  Thank you for your input. :)

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Actually, when I take an expert deposition, all I try to do is "box the expert in".  By that I mean I want to come away with an exhaustive list of every opinion the expert has in the matter.  Then, for each opinion, I want to know every fact that supports it, where you got those facts, what outside resources you consulted, what other individuals you consulted, every other person on the planet earth (including the lawyer that retained you) with whom you have disussed any opinion, and all documents you have ever looked at relating to the opinion.  I also want to see every document you have authored (letters, emails, notes) that relate in any way to the opinion.

 

Then I want to know if you have any opinions about the case that you have been asked not to express.

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Hi Shellieh98,

 

I recently completed similar work. My attorney gave me some great advice I'd like to share. I kept wanting to "win the case" or as he put it, hit a home run. He said that was not my role, and what they needed was a lot of "singles" not "home runs."  He needed me to help him score points, slowly, methodically, point by point, issue by issue. I then set about sticking to my positions, and methodically scoring points. Along the way, I developed an unplanned but successful strategy. I began to view the deposition as a private facebook page - with my own walls and multiple privacy options. Anytime they tried to get me off my game, put words in my mouth, or take me down a path I disagreed with - I viewed it as a form of unauthorized access and either politely shut them down, or redirected to what I believed to be true.

 

Along the way, they'll come back and ask you some of the same questions 3, 4 or 5 times, to see if you get tired or frustrated and change your answer.  At some point you have a right to say, "you can ask me the same question 5 times, my answer will be the same each time.  However, if it will save time, we can have the court reporter read back my prior answers to the same questions for you."  At one point I did just that, and their attorney ceased the tactic seeing I was not going to change my position. The key is to do this as politely and professionally as possible. If they get testy or rude, it will work against them, not against  you or the party who has engaged your services.  If you get tired, or just to gather your thoughts, request a break.

 

My attorney did a great prep session with me, and I'm sure yours will prepare you, as well. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said its something you've been doing for 25 years and an aspect of your work you do 15 times per day. That's what it will come down to. Prepare thoroughly, and if they try to bait you or get testy, kill 'em with professionalism and kindness. I'm sure you'll do great!

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remember also that you have to stick to your own professional ethics and as you really have no dog in this fight, sticking to professional norms and procedures will help. also you can bet that they will try to get you upset. that is the first thing when interrogating someone is to take their comfort away.

 

It is kinda like being question by the police they always offer water to suspects. This is to make them feel that one they are playing by the rules, and to make them take in more water than they need. as soon as the interrogator leaves they turn the a/c cooler, they make people not stand in front of the room and then that water does it's work. My point is they give the appearance of making you comfortable but they initiate actions that take it away.

 

So If I were you I would offer them water because they look a little dehydrated, and and later they will have to pee and then you accomplish two things you show that you know your stuff and shift the interrogation techniques onto them.

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So much useful advice!  I recieved 3 depositions in the mail yesterday, one was for the defendant deposed by the plaintiff's lawyer.  The defendant did very well, I think her lawyer prepared her well.  The other 2 were the Plaintiff's wittness being deposed by the Defendant's lawyer.  I could tell just by reading that the Defense lawyer has done this many times.  CALawyer, your statements summed up pretty well what she did.  My thought was, I am glad it was not going to be her deposing me lol. 

 

Drawing my own conclusion, I felt the Plaintiff's attorney may have not been an attorney for very long, or at the very least, she was not used to this type of case. (plus for me).  I am objective, and although I am a witness for the defense, it will not be a stretch for me as I believe the actions by the Defendant were just and proper, she didn't do anything wrong in her practice.

This thread has been very helpful, and just reading those other depositions, I can see where the things posted here are true.

I wonder--Were most lawyers on the debate team in high school? lol, I think you would have to be very good at that to be a lawyer. 

 

Thanks everyone for your input, I will let you know how it goes.

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I've been deposed once, and sat in on several depositions.

 

Depending on the case, expect the lawyers to duke it out a bit (or a lot). The first 30 minutes at least will be basic info about you and your credentials. Then they will get into the honey.

 

If they ask you a yes/no, generally I was told to answer yes/no. However, if you feel that you need to expand to help out your case, then definitely do.

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