A deposition is an oral or written statement of the facts and relevant information given by someone involved in a legal matter.
A written deposition may also be called an interrogatory.
An oral deposition is always taken under oath and is a legally binding court document. The person giving this testimony is called the deponent.
The deponent’s attorney will be present during the deposition to protect the deponent’s rights and to instruct their client not to reply to questions about the deponent’s health, sexuality or religious beliefs unless this directly pertains to the case.
Deponents refusing to appear can be subpoenaed. Defying a subpoena is considered a form of contempt of court and can have serious legal consequences.
What is a Deposition Summary?
Depositions can last for many hours and even days. The resulting document may be several hundred pages long. From a legal standpoint, it may contain convoluted, irrelevant, and even worthless information.
A deposition summary reduces the entire deposition to information most germane to the case and indexed in various ways for ease of use.
Deposition summaries may be organized by topic or may be in chronological order. It may be a page-line summary or one in narrative form.
A page-line summary tracks important points in the entire document by both page and one of the 25 numbered lines on the page. A page-line summary is helpful for quickly skimming through dozens of pages for a particular point or piece of information.
They are also of great value for comparing one summary to another. This type of summary may be available in a number of formats, including a blank column for notes.
A narrative summary typically begins with information about the deponent followed with the main points of their deposition.
There are many individualized ways to format a deposition summary.
While summary reports are very useful for busy attorneys who don’t have time to comb through meandering depositions to get needed facts and information to prepare their case, creating a deposition summary is very time-consuming, exacting work.
Producing such a document properly consumes many hours of an attorney’s scarce, valuable time that could otherwise be spent on case strategy and client services.
Outsourcing a Deposition Summary
There are several important reasons why it makes more sense to outsource this type of work to a professional agency familiar with depositions and their role in a court case and possible trial.
- Outsourcing depositions saves time. This allows attorneys and paralegals to focus on other aspects of the case and makes better use of the office’s personnel resources. Attorneys who dedicate their time to daily deposition summaries become proficient at this task and can typically complete the documents much faster.
- Outsourcing saves money. Larger legal firms and smaller ones alike often find that doing deposition summaries in-house is not an optimal or even reasonable use of attorney or paralegal time. Outsourcing this task may save a law firm anywhere from 30 to 50 percent.
- Experience. Professional deposition outsourcing services offer a level of expertise difficult to attain in the average law office. With a strong understanding of the deposition review process and no other duties to interrupt them, outsourcing professionals can identify relevant information and exhibits.
Sheila LaCivita is the owner of 4 Corners Depo. She got a paralegal degree with distinction from UCLA and has been helping lawyers with deposition summaries. She wants to share her knowledge and experience with others.