Lamson, Dugan and Murray, LLP, Attorneys at Law

Depositions: Avoid Being a Defensive or Combative Witness

Posted in Deposition Preparation, Depositions, In-House Counsel, Witness Preparation

If you have followed this blog since it started earlier this fall you read our Friday Nebraska sports related posts. Yesterday, the ABA Journal posted its own sports related story. Author Debra Cassens Weiss reported on a deposition of former NBA superstar Allen Iverson. Apparently, AI was not very thrilled about the deposition or the lawyer taking it. The lawyer has apparently represented clients against Iverson in two prior cases. Though Iverson prevailed in this case, the high profile deposition exchange brings to light an important point for individuals and businesses that find themselves in a lawsuit.

Generally, witnesses being deposed gain nothing by being defensive or combative. While the feeling of being personally attacked may be great, the gratification of “getting it off your chest” is not worth the sound bites given to the attorney taking the deposition.   In fact, some lawyers are more than happy to provide the fuel to help witnesses make that very mistake.  The defending lawyer should be there to help control the proceeding and can always request court intervention if necessary but the witness should do what they can to resist becoming embroiled in banter.

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