Will I have to attend the deposition?
Getting a subpoena in the mail or in person can quickly cause anxiety and stress, but knowing the ins and outs of a deposition – and if you even have to go at all – can help ease your mind.
There’s no short answer for, “Do I have to attend the deposition?” If you’re being deposed, then you must attend. However, if the opposing party is being deposed, you are not technically required to attend, although you may want to just for the sake of hearing their side of the story. The first thing to consider is who is being deposed, and the second is whether or not you want to be present for the deposition based on personal reasons.
If you’re the one being deposed, you want to make sure that the subpoena is in fact for you. Subpoenas are legal requests by the opposing party or by a court to appear at a type of legal proceeding. Many subpoenas will be delivered in person, but it’s also possible that you’ll get one in the mail. If you’re mailed a subpoena, it’s not uncommon for it to go to the wrong person, so double check that all of your personal information is correct.
If you determine that you do have to show up because you’re the person being deposed, make sure to have all the necessary paperwork with you on the day of your deposition. The subpoena may list the documents that you have to bring with you. If you’re unsure of which documents to bring, don’t simply ignore the subpoena – contact the attorney who is listed on the subpoena and ask for clarity.
Remember, a deposition isn’t a hearing or a trial. Instead, it’s a meeting between the clients and their lawyers. If you’re being deposed, the attorneys will ask you questions. You’ll be under oath, so it’s important to answer honestly. There will be a court reporter present who will be recording the questions you’re asked as well as your answers. Sometimes the meeting will also be recorded with audio or video.
At the start of the deposition, you’ll get a sort of warmup from the opposing lawyer. This means that he’ll ask you easy questions that you won’t have to mull over. For example, you may be asked about your marital status or where you grew up. Don’t take this opportunity to chat – simply answer the question briefly and move on. Even though the opposing lawyer may be acting friendly, that doesn’t mean they’re actually your friend.
When you’re being deposed, make sure to only answer the questions you’re asked – this isn’t necessarily an opportunity to argue your side of things. If you’re unclear on how to answer a question or you don’t understand a question, you should ask for clarity or ask to speak with your attorney. Also, it’s fine to pause after being asked a question if you need extra time to think of your answer. Whenever possible, answer with simply “yes” or “no” – don’t elaborate if you don’t have to. If you’re not asked a “yes” or “no” question, try to keep your answer as short and succinct as possible.
Ultimately, attending a deposition that isn’t your own is a personal choice. Ask your attorney for their advice – they may have specific reasons for why you should or should not attend.