Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Don't Bieber your deposition

Three years ago, I wrote a post entitled, 10 tips for preparing for your deposition, in which I offered some ideas for how to best prepare to give a deposition in case in which you are a witness. The tips includes the common sense (tell the truth), to the more esoteric (beware leading questions).

Today, I’m updating that top-10 list with an 11th tip: Don’t be a Bieber. Earlier this week, TMZ leaked the video of the highlights (or lowlights, depending on your perspective) of the deposition Justin Bieber gave in a case in which a photographer claims Bieber ordered his bodyguard to attack him. This deposition might go down as the worst performance ever given under oath.

It is rare that you will win a case during your deposition. The person asking the questions is not your friend. The inquisitor is looking for opportunities to trip you up, put words in your mouth, and make you look bad. Yet, while you can’t win a case during your deposition, you certainly can lose it. You can make admissions that you don’t need to make, or you can come off looking like Bieber did in his video—like an a-hole.

The video is entertaining, but it’s also instructive. If you are being deposed, don’t play games. Don’t feign fake ignorance. Don’t get smart or act smarmy. Yes, it’s an unpleasant experience to be under oath. Don’t make it worse by giving a Bieber-like performance.

So, thank Biebs. You provided me the perfect instructional tool for me to show my witnesses before they are deposed, so they don’t act like you.

[Hat tip: Eric Meyer and Phil Miles]