A deposition is the questioning of any person, whether a party to a lawsuit or not. The deponent is placed under oath, and lawyers for each party may ask questions which they think will lead to admissible evidence. The questions and answers are usually recorded by a stenographer and any party may order transcripts of the deposition. Use this article as a guide while you write a deposition.
Find a lawyer. Lawyers are easily accessible by various means, including searching the phone book, getting referrals from friends, and getting recommendations from other lawyers (if your case is specialized). Acting without an attorney in a complicated lawsuit that requires a deposition is not recommended. After reviewing your case, you and your attorney will decide whether to proceed with your claim.
File a complaint. In order to begin the fact-finding part of the lawsuit, a complaint must first be filed in the proper court. A complaint must include reasoning as to why the particular court has jurisdiction over the people involved in the case, a statement validating the claim of the person filing the complaint, and details of the demands of relief from the person the complaint is being filed against.
Sit down with your lawyer and develop a list of questions that can be asked that will lead to receiving the information needed from witnesses in order to resolve your case. This is the part where you actually write what will become your deposition.
Find a stenographer. A stenographer will make a written record of everything said in the deposition by anyone in the room; the people involved in the lawsuit can then request a copy of it. You can find a referral for a stenographer through the court.
Put the other people involved in the case "on notice." This means that they are being notified that their presence is required at a deposition in a certain place and at a certain time.
- Depositions are expensive. Each side needs to be represented by a lawyer, which must be paid. A stenographer must also be present, who must be paid by the person asking for the deposition. Costs for even short depositions can be expected to run into the thousands of dollars.
- Writing a deposition is part of a process called "discovery." This is when, during a lawsuit, people like witnesses and those involved are questioned. The laws of the discovery process are different in every court that you will go to, so it is important to know the guidelines of a particular court before you attempt to proceed.