When you are questioning during a deposition, you want the transcript to be as clear as possible. Your transcript may be used in court which means that it needs to be easy to understand. Your deposition court reporter needs to take down everything said in the deposition word for word. This transcript may be used in court down the road, so in order to make your transcript as clear as possible, you need to avoid these common bad habits.
3 Mistakes Attorneys Make During Depositions
1. Talking at the Same Time As Someone Else
In some situations, talking over someone else can be acceptable; a deposition is not one of those situations. Of course, when you use an agency, such as Coalition, you’ll work with an experienced deposition court reporter who will be able to navigate the situation. Even so, this manner of talking over one another can make a transcript extremely difficult to read.
Attorney: Was that individual
Witness: yes, yes!
A: at that event,
W: yes, yes absolutely
A: at that specific time?
W: Yes, that’s right.
You can imagine that if you needed to repeat this part of the transcript during a trial, the jury has a difficult time understanding the transcript.
Solution: When you notice that the witness is speaking at the same time as you, stop speaking and let them finish what they were saying. Then repeat your question again. If the witness does this repeatedly, remind the witness that they should not speak at the same time as you.
2. Asking an Underdeveloped Question
Sometimes you know the information you need to obtain but you don’t know what questions you need to ask. You may begin to ask a question and it will evolve organically as you are asking it. This is a normal conversational matter, but it isn’t the best method for a clear record.
Example: Did you – I mean at the event – what did that individual – what happened?
The witness will likely understand what you are attempting to ask, but this will be confusing when revisited in the transcript.
Solution: Before you ask a question, take a second to think about the information you want. Ask questions that are direct and will give you clear answers. If you begin to ask a question and you realize it can be worded more articulately- stop, gather your thoughts, and reformulate your question.
Mumbling will just make things more difficult for your deposition court reporter. If your reporter cannot hear or understand what is being said, he or she will have to interject and ask you to repeat it. This is good for the sake of the record but is disruptive to the natural flow of your deposition.
Solutions: Speak clearly and at an appropriate volume.
An Experienced Deposition Court Reporter Can Ensure a Better Transcript
We know that an accurate deposition transcript will be vital for your case. Many court reporting agencies will vet their deposition court reporters in order to ensure that they can properly transcribe everything that is stated in a deposition. Working with one of these agencies instead of simply hiring a freelance deposition court reporter can ensure that your transcript is as accurate as possible.