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Civil litigation and the importance of depositions

Effective litigation requires skill in the courtroom. Oftentimes, those who are embroiled in civil litigation need to be skillful in making and meeting objections, as well as questioning favorable and adverse witnesses in order to succeed. While an attorney must be able to think quickly on his or her feet to successfully litigate, a strong foundation created through thorough preparation can go a long way.

That is why it is important for plaintiffs in civil litigation to engage in discovery, whereby information is obtained from the defendant and other individuals and businesses that have relevant information. One critical part of this process is the deposition.

A deposition is essentially testimony that is taken outside of court for the purpose of preserving a potential witness's statements. By doing this, an attorney can lock that witness into his or her story and further prepare his or her legal arguments based on that witness's anticipated testimony at trial.

Depositions are taken at an agreed upon place and proceed in a question and answer format as if occurring in court. The entire process is recorded and transcribed, which is important because a witness's testimony can be used at trial if that witnesses strays from testimony given during the deposition. Although objections are made during depositions, an individual who is being deposed usually must still answer the objectionable question. The matter will then be addressed in court.

By completing depositions, a plaintiff can better prepare for trial because he or she can have a clearer picture of the case in light of discovered facts. Then, with knowledge of those facts, a plaintiff can apply favorable law and better anticipate defense arguments. This, as mentioned above, can serve a strong foundation for successful settlement negotiations and civil litigation. Those facing civil litigation may want the assistance of a qualified legal professional who can help them engage in discovery to reduce the risk of being surprised at trial.

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