A clean, coherent, and intelligible deposition transcript is invaluable to a trial attorney. It can prevent the waste of hours of trial preparation spent decoding same. It may also be the key piece of evidence used to impeach a witness during cross-examination and question his or her credibility.
With that, know that the court reporter is your friend — help your friend help you. To do so, see this article that list best practices and suggestions for handling a court reporter at a deposition. A brief must read for any trial attorney.
When you’re taking a deposition, you know that ensuring a complete and accurate record is vital. So don’t take the person who’s dutifully taking down the proceedings for granted: Assisting the court reporter is not only polite, it might be the key to a clean depo transcript to use at trial.
Helping the court reporter start even before the deposition begins by
- Showing up early to organize documents for convenient reference and mark them as exhibits.
- Giving the reporter a copy of the case caption so the transcript will include the correct case name and court number.
- If the deponent is an expert, offering the reporter a written glossary of unusual terms that will be used during the deposition.
Two of the potentially most important areas to understand for a deposition are proper and improper objections. You’d be amazed at just how many improper objections are frequently asserted.
And so the saying goes, “one lie can ruin a thousand truths.” In the context of depositions, “one improper objection can erase your good standing, while one waived objection can ruin your case.”
The two most often improperly used objections in a deposition are relevance and hearsay. It is not necessary that the question itself be non-hearsay or relevant, only that it must be reasonably capable of leading to admissible evidence. Put simply, “If the question may lead to admissible evidence than it is relevant.” (See link below)