Monday, August 12, 2013

Summarizing a Deposition - Skills & Tools

Someone has rightly said, “Deposition is the core part of litigation”. An attorney heavily relies upon the testimony of the witnesses in order to prove the claim of the client and to demolish the claim of the opponent. The purpose of the testimony is to yield the truth. It helps in bringing out the actual veracity from the witnesses. The fate of the trial to a greater extent depends upon the depositions. Testimony is a technique to tacitly elucidate the correct version from a witness. Attorneys put across the questions to the witness so as to bring them to their desired statement in very scattered manners. This makes the deposition a lengthy affair.

As the depositions go to the root of the trial, it entails the demarcation of relevant part out of the deposition which further requires to be summarized. The correct summarization of deposition depends upon two vital factors:
  1. Legal acumen
  2. Ability to summarize
Each trial has its peculiar set of facts which mandate its course of trial. The testimony is expected to revolve around the issues involved in it. In absence of a legal acumen, the vital points of testimony are at risk of being missed. The selection of relevant text out of the deposition can be done only by a qualified attorney. Anyone other than an attorney / paralegal would be unable to actually understand and identify the required portion in the testimony to support the defense or otherwise. So the role of a person with legal acumen becomes vital in highlighting the selected portion. The legal acumen in summarization deposition requires the following skills:
  • Ability to identify the key points involved in the testimony in hand.
  • Skill to comprehend the legal issues lightly to be supported or demolished by the witness.
  • Selection of the key points including the supported / non-supported version by the witness.
Summarization produces a comprehensive and organized portion of testimony. It requires the real understanding of the highlighted portions by joining them with relevant connectors or other words. Good comprehension along with grammatical and analytical skills plays a vital role in conveying the same sense but in a more concise and articulate manner.      
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