What to Wear to a Deposition as a Defendant: Complete Guide

What to Wear to a Deposition as a Defendant

When you go to a deposition as a defendant, how you present yourself can have just as much of an impact as your answers to the questions asked. Your deposition may be video-recorded and shown to a jury in court; how you present yourself in the video will be just as important as how you present yourself in court.

What should you wear to a deposition as a defendant? A defendant should follow a business casual dress code when attending a deposition. This means that men should be neatly shaven with slacks and a dress shirt while women should dress conservatively with slacks and a blouse.

How you dress can speak to your personality and how you think of the situation. You want your appearance to project professionalism and honesty. How you present yourself at a deposition can play a role in encouraging a settlement or charges to be dropped altogether. Keep reading to learn what to wear to a deposition.

What to Wear as a Defendant to a Deposition

Men’s Dresscode

If you’re a man going into a deposition as a defendant, you’ll want to wear slacks with a tucked-in dress shirt. If you’re a business professional, you should still follow the business casual dress code over a suit and tie. Business casual communicates a sense of familiarity while still portraying respect.

Most times, the plaintiff will be present at your deposition. If you wear a suit and tie, you can subconsciously portray a sense of superiority to the plaintiff. Business casual wear will still represent that you care while also providing a less confrontational look.

Women’s Dresscode

As a woman attending a deposition as a defendant, you should wear slacks and a blouse. Once again, this business casual look is communicating respect, which can appeal to the plaintiff. You’ll want to maintain a conservative appearance and give the opposing party or the jury can focus on what you’re saying and not how you look.

What Colors You Should Wear

According to Color Psychology, the colors you wear can communicate a specific aspect to your audience. This is something you can integrate into your wardrobe for your deposition appearance. The best colors to wear are neutral blues and greens, as both these colors communicate calm and tranquility. In the business world, many salesmen, CEOs, and publicists wear these colors as it makes them more appealing to the public.

One color you want to avoid wearing to your deposition is red; this color can communicate volatility and danger.  Any bright or loud color will draw more attention to yourself and leave the plaintiff and other opposing party members to draw an opinion about you.

What to Expect at a Deposition as a Defendant

If you’ve never been apart of a deposition before, you may feel nervous about attending one as a defendant. Depositions are part of the legal process and can both help your case or hurt your case. Keep reading to learn what to expect at a deposition as a defendant:

Why Have a Deposition?

A deposition is an on-the-record testimony that helps lawyers gather information for the case. The recording of a deposition can be used in court to prove a credible story and to give more evidence about the case.

There are a number of reasons depositions are held in legal cases. One reason is that it allows the lawyers to get a full picture of what happened during the incident. They take the stories from both sides, both the plaintiff and the defendant, to draw a more clear picture as to what happened. This is a great opportunity for the defendant to share their side of the story.

Another reason a deposition will be held is to prove whether or not the defendant’s original story is credible. If you’re part of a legal case as a defendant, you’re going to be asked the same questions over and over again. There is a reason for this: if your story falters at all, it gives the plaintiff a good chance to win in court.

Thirdly, a deposition can be the catalyst for a settlement outside of court. There can be a number of reasons a case reaches a settlement; the plaintiff can realize that they won’t win as much compensation in court as they could win in a settlement. The plaintiff, seeing the defendant in person and hearing their story, may decide to cut the defendant a break and take lower compensation. There are a number of reasons, so always walk into a deposition optimistic.

What Is the Outcome of a Deposition?

The outcome of a deposition is that the case will either be settled or it will go to court. A settlement is when the two legal parties agree to means outside of court. This can be both a better and worse outcome for both parties. Many parties may be looking to settle, as the legal process is limited compared to when you go to court it can be a few years before you stand before the jury.

If the case isn’t settled or dropped, it will go to court. In court, the case will be presented to a judge and a jury. The deposition transcripts may be shown to help the jury get a better picture as to what happened. How the court decides can be much more extreme than what’s decided in a settlement. The jury can decide that the plaintiff won’t get any compensation; they can also decide that the plaintiff will get full compensation.

How is the Deposition Recorded?

Since the recordings from the deposition can be used in court, you may be wondering how is the deposition recorded? During a deposition, there will be two professionals in the room that record everything that is happening.

One professional will be a court reporter. A court reporter transcribes every word that is being said using a stenograph. Another professional who will be involved will be a legal videographer. They will have a video camera fixed on you to record your every move.

These two professionals will capture everything that happens on-the-record. The video recording that the legal videographer takes can be used to determine what your body language is saying as you share your answers to the lawyer’s questions. Both the transcript and the video can be shown in court.

Who is In the Room During a Deposition?

There are quite a few people in the room during a deposition. You’ll have the lawyers from both parties present. If you’re a defendant, your lawyer will be there to help guide you through the process and protect you from any unnecessary questions. The plaintiff’s lawyer will be the one asking you questions pertaining to the case.

The plaintiff will usually be at the depositions. While this can be uncomfortable sitting in the room with the person who is suing you, it can also help you appeal to them for a lower settlement.

Lastly, the court reporter and the legal videographer will be there to record what is going on. The person who is being deposed will either be the defendant or a witness. To learn more about legal videography, read our article, What is a Legal Videographer?

What Questions Will Be Asked to a Defendant During a Deposition?

If you’re a defendant preparing for a deposition, you may be wondering what questions will be asked. The plaintiff’s lawyer will be the one who is asking you these questions. It’s important to remember that they are trying to see how credible your side of the story is, so they will ask many repetitive questions.

You’ll be asked to recount the events that lead up to the lawsuit. You may be asked to recount a specific day and everything you did from when you woke up to when you went to sleep. You may be asked questions regarding your health and whether or not you were on medication. (This usually is asked in a personal injury case)

You could be asked how you interpret certain laws or principles regarding the case. You may even be asked if you think that you’re in the wrong. It’s important to remember that your lawyer will be there with you, so they can protect you from any questionable question. Look to them for guidance.

To learn more, check out our article, Common Deposition Questions (And Tips For Answering Them.)

How Long Do Depositions Last?

A deposition can last between 30 minutes to 8 hrs in length. In this length of time, the plaintiff’s lawyer is gathering information for their case. Some lawyers may get the information they need in one hour while others may take 8 hours to do so. Whatever the reason, it’s important to maintain the same composure if you’re the defendant. The plaintiff’s lawyer could just be looking to tire you out and disprove your side of the story by dragging out the length of the deposition.

We hope this article helps you to prepare for your deposition. Another helpful thing to know is how you should act and conduct yourself during a deposition. To know more, check out our article, How to Act in a Deposition: Everything You Need to Know.

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Matt McWilliams
matt@mcwilliamsmedia.com