How to Successfully Testify At Your Deposition

Tyson Jr., Robert F.
August 1998
Journal of Financial Planning;Aug1998, Vol. 11 Issue 4, p94
Academic Journal
The article presents guidelines that are intended to assist financial planners in more effectively rendering deposition testimony. There is an old adage in the legal profession: an attorney who represents himself has a fool for a client. Whenever a person is subpoenaed to testify in a deposition, one first should seek the advice of a counsel. While telling the truth may not necessarily limit one's exposure to a lawsuit, lying or playing fast and loose with the truth will undoubtedly increase the potential exposure to a suit. A deposition is taken for several reasons. It is not taken to exonerate the person being deposed. The first reason for taking a deposition is to learn one's version of the facts--that is, what one will testify to at trial if called as a witness. All too often, when a financial planner is a defendant or a potential target in a malpractice lawsuit, the planner will attempt to convince the other side its case has no merit. While it may be frustrating to hold back at the deposition stage of litigation, it is essential for a successful deposition and favorable resolution of one's involvement in the lawsuit. A deposition is taken in an informal setting. At the outset of a deposition, the examining attorney will attempt to establish control, this can be done in several ways. It is critical to review all relevant records before the deposition. It is the attorney's responsibility to articulate intelligible questions. Every witness makes mistakes in a deposition. However, remember the admonition that any written changes to the deposition may affect one's credibility at trial.


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