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What every business person needs to know about being deposed

A primer on what to expect, how to prepare and the best ways to respond during your first deposition

Being deposed can feel like entering uncharted territory. Unlike court testimony—which at least gets dramatic representation in movies and on television—depositions are something in which few people have actually participated. Knowing what to expect, how to prepare and the best ways to give direct, truthful answers will make any deponent feel more comfortable and more capable of participating fully and meaningfully.

What to expect


4. If you have a question about privilege, ask to speak to your attorney immediately. Hopefully, your attorney will recognize when a question might call for privileged information. But if you are uncertain whether you can answer a question because doing so requires you to disclose information that you believe might be protected by the attorney-client privilege, ask to speak with your attorney before you respond.

5. Don’t fight with the questioning attorney. It is likely that you will find the questioning attorney really annoying. This could be because he is suing your company or engaging in an intentional strategic ploy. Either way, do not take the bait. Be professional and courteous at all times, although it may be appropriate to show a certain amount of restrained indignation if the line of questioning calls for it. For instance, if the questioning attorney incorrectly suggests that your company was acting unethically or committing fraud, you may want your response to convey the offense you’ve taken to that suggestion. Such a reaction, however, should be one that is sincere and natural—not one that is contrived. And don’t let your emotions get the better of you. Better to err on the side of restraint.

Contributing Author

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Anne Lockner

Anne M. Lockner is a partner in Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P.’s business litigation group. She has handled cases involving complex financial, technology, accounting,...

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Contributing Author

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Dawn Bauder

Dawn M. Bauder has been in-house at Best Buy since 2008 and is responsible for handling a portfolio of complex commercial litigation matters. Prior to...

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