Pop star Justin Bieber made headlines several weeks ago when his video deposition went viral on the Internet. The deposition was conducted in the case against the troubled singer where a member of the paparazzi sued him claiming he instructed his bodyguard to physically assault the photographer. “Beliebers,” the name given his fan base, admire the singer for his singing abilities and performances. However, his performance in his deposition was lacking.
Depositions are a discovery tool used by attorneys that allow the attorney to obtain sworn testimony from a witness in advance of the trial. Depositions are important to the attorney because it allows them to obtain information that may be useful to their client’s case, and it allows the attorney to evaluate what type of witness the deponent will make. Attorneys want to know whether a jury is likely to find a witness sympathetic and believable, or the opposite, before the witness takes the stand as it aids in risk analysis.
In his deposition, Bieber was flippant, sarcastic and came across arrogant. He was combative with the plaintiff’s attorney, swore at the court reporter, and attempted to evade basic questions. Bieber’s actions are what you should not do in a deposition. Depositions can be used at the trial, and a jury’s perception of the witness will play a role in their determination of the case. Therefore, it is extremely important to take a deposition seriously as it can have a significant impact on one’s case.
Whether you are Justin Bieber or any other deponent, these are the top five things you should do in your deposition:
1) Tell the truth.
2) Stay calm. Be polite, respectful and conversational in your testimony.
3) Listen carefully to questions.
4) Keep your answers succinct.
5) Be prepared. Listen to your attorney, ask any questions before the deposition, and review any relevant documents your attorney tells you to. Be on time and get a good night’s sleep beforehand.
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