Depositions 101


Depositions 101

The primary purpose of a deposition in court cases is to provide an opportunity for attorneys and other parties in legal proceedings to gather accurate and necessary pre-trial information that might be helpful for the case. A deposition can reduce a trial’s duration because the judge may not need to go over all the facts of the case at trial. This is facilitated by court reporting, which plays a crucial role in depositions because court reporters prepare written transcripts of everything that is said during the legal proceedings. Before the deposition, participants need to understand what to expect during the process. Below is a complete Depositions 101 guide to ensure a successful deposition and a favorable outcome. Accurate court reporting is absolutely critical in all court proceedings, including depositions. At Kusar Court Reporters, our licensed court reporters provide court reporting services nationwide, serving our clients’ deposition and courtroom needs. For an evaluation of your complex case, call (800) 282-3376.

What Is a Deposition?

A deposition is basically a formal interview conducted by one party to learn what other people involved in the case know about the case. Typically, depositions take place before the trial. Parties involved in a deposition are asked questions to gather the necessary pre-trial information. Most law firms prefer to hire highly skilled and licensed court reporters and videographers to be present during the deposition in order to prepare a transcript and video record of the question-and-answer session. A deposition is often the foundation of a solid case because it allows attorneys to test their theories and discover any contradictory statements in the testimonies of witnesses and other parties.

How Long Does a Deposition Last?

A deposition can last anywhere from twenty minutes to seven hours. If the attorney is not finished asking all of his or her questions, the deponent who is giving testimony under oath may be called back at a later date to complete the deposition. Thus, the duration of a deposition depends on how long it takes an attorney to go through all the questions required to get the deponent to deliver the testimony. It also depends on the time required to answer each question and other factors, such as technical difficulties or problems returning from breaks. However, according to federal law, a deposition cannot last longer than seven hours per day. Under Rule 30 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP), the duration of the deposition may be prolonged if doing so is necessary to complete the deposition.

What Is the Purpose of a Deposition?

The primary purpose of a deposition is to gather the necessary facts about the case before it moves forward to trial. The facts obtained during a deposition can be used by the parties to expose strengths and weaknesses in their claims. Even though a deposition is held outside the courtroom, deponents must provide statements under oath. Under Rule 28 of the FRCP, before the deposition begins, an officer authorized to administer oaths must administer an oath or affirmation to the deponent.

Where Do Depositions Take Place?

Often, depositions take place in an attorney’s office. Before the deposition, the parties need to agree upon a venue for the deposition outside the courthouse. Selecting the right venue for a deposition is important to ensure that the question-and-answer session is held in a private setting. The selected venue should also be spacious enough and have the necessary electrical capabilities for all the equipment used by court reporters and videographers during the session. In recent years, an increasing number of law firms and attorneys have preferred remote depositions as a viable alternative to in-person depositions. For example, a remote deposition may be appropriate when the deponent would have to travel more than 150 miles to the deposition location.

What to Expect During the Deposition

Depositions 101 would not be comprehensive without explaining what the participants should expect during deposition sessions. Before the formal process begins, the deponent is asked to swear under oath that he or she is providing truthful statements. Then, an attorney will ask questions regarding the case. The questions and answers will be transcribed by court reporters during the deposition. The statements provided by the deponent will be recorded word-for-word so that they can be used as evidence at the trial. At Kusar Court Reporters, our court reporters produce official written transcripts of depositions and other legal proceedings across the nation.

What to Expect After a Deposition

When the deposition is completed, court reporters will process the transcription of the questions and answers provided by the deponent. The transcription will be available for both parties involved in the deposition. Then, the parties can use the out-of-court testimony and information gathered during the deposition to develop their legal strategy and prepare for trial. Federal law allows deponents to request changes to their statements made during the deposition within 30 days after the transcript or available for review.

What Is the Role of Court Reporters During a Deposition?

Court reporters are commonly referred to as “guardians of the record” because of their ability to create verbatim transcripts professionally and impartially. Court reporters provide a written record of everything that has been said during the deposition. Those verbatim transcripts can be used as invaluable information for participants when preparing for a trial. Without court reporters and their accurate transcriptions of depositions, trials can turn into “he said, she said” arguments, making the legal process more complicated, drawn-out, and expensive.

Licensed and Trusted Court Reporters

Selecting a court reporter is a critical decision to make when preparing for a deposition. As mentioned in this Depositions 101 guide, the importance of obtaining a written record of the session cannot be overstated given the sensitive nature of depositions. When looking for a professional and reliable court reporter, an individual or law firm should hire someone with years of experience and a proven track record of client satisfaction. At Kusar Court Reporters, our court reporters are licensed and trusted by clients nationwide. We are dedicated to providing our clients with a wide range of court reporting services. We understand the nuances of court reporting and are committed to providing quality services tailored to each client’s needs. Call (800) 282-3376 to schedule a reliable and skilled court reporter for your deposition.

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