You’re not sure why you need to be asked so many questions before your case goes to trial. You’ll be on the stand when you need to testify before a judge, so why are there so many Q&A sessions beforehand?

Understanding the Difference Between Depositions for Discovery and Trial

While some states have a different process for trial depositions and depositions for discovery, the basic difference is that discovery depositions aim to find out what a witness knows and how his testimony will appear to the court, while trial depositions are taken because a witness may be unavailable to testify in person.

The opposing attorney may alter his line of questioning if you are unable to appear in court in person. Keep the following things in mind when you arrive at your:

  • Discovery depositions. During the discovery phase, questions may be open-ended and probing in an effort to find out what the witness may be hiding. The opposing attorney will be taking notes on your responses and following up on potential leads when he gets back to his office. If he uncovers evidence that conflicts with your testimony, you make have to answer additional questions—and he will likely wait until you are in front of the judge.
  • Trial depositions. Unlike discovery questioning, an attorney only has one chance to get answers from his witness, so he must be prepared to ask all of his questions while the witness can be reached. For this reason, the witness is often handled as if the deposition is a live trial. The opposing attorney will usually attempt to exhaust his line of questioning, including bringing all documents and other witness testimony that he intends to use in court to the deposition.
  • Video deposition. Both the discovery and trial depositions may be videotaped for review and use in court, so it is very important that you pay attention to your appearance and mannerisms. If your testimony is going to be videotaped, your attorney may wish to do a “dry run” and perform a practice taped deposition in his office. Review the tape with him, taking note of your demeanor and tone, and ask yourself: if you were on a jury, what impression would you get from the deposition?

Think you or your clients could benefits from a video deposition? Visit our video services page to find out how we can help.

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