Mediated or negotiated settlements replace trials almost all of the time. It is difficult to value your case for settlement purposes, without an idea of the testimony that would occur at trial. If you take your depositions before mediation or negotiation, you have some good information as to how the testimony would be delivered at trial, what would be said at trial, and whether cross-examination could help you make your case. You are then in a good position to talk settlement.
There are several theories of how to conduct a deposition. One approach says to gather direct information, and to save the hard questions and cross-examination for trial. Another approach is to treat the deposition as if it were testimony at trial. Your lawyer asks the hard questions and makes an aggressive cross-examination of the witness. There are a few approaches within these extremes. Your lawyer tailors the approach to the witness, and the nature of the case.
Your lawyer has to prepare to take a deposition, by analyzing your case and literally writing down the questions to be asked. That’s a lot different from television, but it is the way to an effective deposition. Your lawyer may stray from the script on occasion, such as when key information is obtained that needs to be explored more thoroughly. Of course, there are lots of behaviors by the witness that can lead a good lawyer to vary from the script. This requires experience and skill, as I will deliver for you.
The reverse is also true. If you have to give your deposition, your lawyer should analyze all aspects of the case thoroughly and prepare questions for you. At that point, your lawyer asks you the questions and helps you find an effective manner to use in your answers. I know how stressful it can be to have your deposition taken. When your lawyer prepares you well, the nervousness goes down.
Of course, if a well-taken deposition does not result in a good settlement, it is just as important for trial of your case. You will have learned information that even the best lawyer did not anticipate. You know how the witness will appear to the jury. Your lawyer has learned the witness’s weaknesses. If the witness varies from the answers the witness gave in deposition, you can pin them down and show the inconsistency.
In negotiation and mediation, your opponent will have partially learned these same things about the opponent’s witness. This can create the environment for a successful resolution to your case.
Contact Business Lawyer, John McDuff
In deposition practice I deliver to you my skill, talent, education, training, and experience in such matters. In the process, I make it a point to deliver exceptional service. I provide clients with my cell phone number and instruct them to contact me whenever the need arises. I work nights and weekends, 24/7/365, as needed to help achieve successful outcomes — and making depositions a significant part of a successful case strategy.
For questions regarding the use of depositions, call 512.457.1177 or contact me online to speak with me, Attorney John McDuff, about your legal concerns.