If you are a party to a lawsuit or arbitration, you may be required to testify at trial or in a deposition.  Even if you are not a party to a lawsuit, you may be subpoenaed to testify in a trial as a witness if you have personal knowledge about the events and circumstances involved in a civil or criminal case.  I have written a free ebooklet that can help you out!  Keep reading.

You may have some idea of what it means to testify at trial from watching movies or television shows that depict civil or criminal trials.  But you might be unfamiliar with depositions.  In law, a deposition is a pre-trial discovery tool used in civil litigation.  Pre-trial discovery tools are procedures that can be used by one party to obtain facts and information about another party’s case in order to assist that party’s preparation for trial.  A deposition allows one party to obtain sworn testimony from another party or witness under an oral (or sometimes written) examination.  The deposition takes place out of court, but in the presence of a court reporter.  A deposition is essentially like being cross-examined outside of court.

In both trial and at deposition, the court reporter transcribes every question you are asked, every answer you provide, and anything else that is spoken during your testimony (such as objections and arguments).  After your deposition, the court reporter prints the transcript it into book form, which you will have an opportunity to review and even correct.  (You do not have the luxury of making corrections to the transcript after you testify at trial.)

Most people do not relish the idea of giving a deposition or testifying at trial.  There are lots of reasons for this.  Some people feel—justifiably—that the lawyer examining (or cross-examining) them is trying to trip them up and trick them into admitting things they did not intend to say.  Others are concerned that the lawyer is going to try to embarrass them and back them into a corner.  Still, other people feel that they are going to be accused and attacked by the lawyer.

Some lawyers do try to use those tactics, and some are quite effective with them.  With the assistance of a skilled lawyer to prepare and defend you, many of these tactics can be diffused. Still, if you are the plaintiff in the lawsuit, you will have to go through this process in order to prove your claim and obtain the relief you seek.  Unfortunately, if you are the defendant, you must endure this process in order to defeat the accusations leveled against you.

How to Give Effective Testimony at Trial and in Deposition.

I have recently written a FREE ebooklet called “How to Give Effective Testimony at Trial and in Deposition,” by which I hope to take the sting out of giving testimony by teaching ways to answer questions that will be helpful instead of harmful, and helping witnesses steer clear of the traps that aggressive lawyers sometimes try to snare them with.  This booklet is not a recipe book of tricks.  Tricks and deceptive practices do not win lawsuits, because skilled lawyers will expose them and judges and juries generally see through them.  Truthful testimony married with effective lawyering will maximize the likelihood of prevailing in your case.  Studying my booklet will not get you out of giving testimony at your deposition or in trial, but it will help take the sting out of getting through it.

The booklet is not up on the firm website yet, so please send me an email request if you would like me to send you a copy.