Discovery – Depositions

A deposition is essentially an oral interview of a witness or party by the opposing attorney under oath and recorded by a court reporter.

Why do a deposition?

  • A deposition can be taken of any witness, party or non-party
  • A deposition is the only discovery device by which an attorney can obtain spontaneous testimony
  • A deposition can force a party or witness to commit himself or herself to a particular version of the facts
  • A deposition can be used to preserve testimony for trial
  • A deposition can be used to ask about the contents of documents, not merely their location and identity
If depositions are so useful, why aren’t they used more?
  • They are very expensive (the party taking the deposition must pay for their own attorney and the court reporter’s time)
  • The length of the deposition cannot be controlled very easily, so they can go on past an affordable length quite easily
As with all discovery, the paralegal has a large role in preparation for the deposition.  The paralegal may prepare the notice, arrange the time, arrange for the court reporter and videographer (when needed), contact the witness, prepare the client if needed, gather documents to be reviewed or used for the deposition and other related tasks.

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