Legal procedures differ with each individual case, but no practicing attorney can anticipate winning at trial strictly with testimony from mumbling, fidgeting, unprofessional looking witnesses. Jurors utilize nonverbal communication to decide if a subject is credible. As video depositions are used more and more— also increasing the number of nonverbal cues available to jury — it becomes extremely detrimental for attorneys to take the time and prepare individuals before they participate in a video deposition.
A deposition is sworn verbal testimony that is conducted outside the courtroom to assist attorneys from both parties during the discovery process. This testimony traditionally is reported by stenographers instead of cameras. The presentation and body language of the individual giving a deposition are invisible to the jury, and eye contact is a nonfactor.
Just as a display by someone on the witness stand can be powerful enough to turn the tides in a case, so can a clips taken from the full video deposition. Likewise, the opposing attorneys can replay an outburst or negative comments from a video deposition in court, endangering your otherwise reliable case.
The accompanying guide provides tips for successfully preparing a client for a video deposition.
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Turn Video Depositions in Your Favor
A video deposition in which your client or witness has performed well can be extremely beneficial when your case is presented to jurors. Depositions can be tense as your adversary attempts to challenge your client and get him or her to say things to hurt the case, but a well-prepared individual with an idea of what to expect and how to respond will have a much better chance at winning over the jury.
Depositions can be the difference between winning and losing in litigation. Use video depositions to highlight key testimony, but do so sparingly in order to grab and keep jurors’ attention — and make sure your client or witness is prepared for a video deposition in advance to best benefit your case.