At the annual Transporting Students With Disabilities conference in Fort Worth, Texas, Linda Bluth of the Maryland State Department of Education, Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services, discussed how to prepare for and handle yourself at a deposition (a question-and-answer session in which the attorneys of both parties are present and involved in examination and cross-examination of the witness). The following are answers to common questions:
What should I wear to a deposition and how do I behave?
• Your appearance should reflect your professional status
• Be courteous
How do I prepare for a deposition?
• Do not bring handwritten notes
• Organize your material so that your information is in chronological order
• Know your facts
• Listen closely to each question
• Take your time before answering a question
What should I say and not say?
• Be aware of leading questions and repetitive questions. These are designed to put you on the defensive
• Do not lose your composure
• Do not volunteer information
• If you don’t know the answer, respond, “I don’t know.”
• Never speculate
How do I compete with an expert
• Be familiar with the position of national organizations
• Review articles by the expert witness
• Review articles written in the field on the subject
• Share with your lawyers articles that support your position.