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I received notice for a deposition– what is it?

A deposition is an integral part of the fact-finding process that takes place during a litigation. If you are someone who is a party to the action or who is expected to provide witness testimony at trial, the opposing side may send you a notice to take your deposition. This provides an opportunity for them to find out what you know and reduces the chances of something unforeseen being uncovered during the trial.

Depositions are part of the pre-trial process known as discovery. According to The Law Dictionary, discovery is the exchange of information and evidence between the parties about the issue being litigated. Depositions may also be referred to as examinations before trial. They allow both parties to know what information the other side has to support its case. This can assist them when it comes time to argue the case in court or it may even help foster a settlement between the parties.

In addition, since there may be a long time between when litigation is initiated and the trial actually occurs, depositions are an opportunity for witnesses to set forth what they know on the record while it is still somewhat fresh in their mind. The attorneys may then refer back to your testimony during the trial and will able to easily pinpoint any contradictions you make.

The notice you received should advise you of the date, time and place of your deposition. Most likely it will occur at one of the attorneys’ offices and you will be placed under oath. A stenographer will also be present to take down everything you say and will later publish a verbatim transcript of everything that is said on the record. Your deposition may also be video recorded. This is not intended to be legal advice and is provided as general information on this topic only.

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