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Depositions can get very emotional, to say the least. The emotional range seems to span the gamut from boredom to intense rage.
But the usual emotion is guarded anger -- remember Justin Bieber's depo? Sometimes that anger can rise to the level of uncontrollable rage. A careful lawyer has got to ask: what steps can you take to protect yourself from a potential attack?
A lawyer I used to work with once described how he was attacked in a deposition. The case involved the breach of contract by the seller on the sale of property. We represented the buyer. During the deposition, my colleague asked the deponent about impeaching character evidence; in response, the deponent lunged across the table, grabbed my colleague's tie and was about ready to throw a punch. Apparently that question hit a nerve.
No harm can be completely guarded against, but reasonable precautions can be taken. In fact, maybe even the non-participants should take preventative steps.
These steps are merely prophylaxis. Depositions need to be done, and if anything, a heated and passionate response will help root out the truth, motives, character issues and will most likely be admissible on two separate theories -- it's testimony given under oath, and bypasses evidence's hearsay hurtles.
Attorneys need to attend and give depositions. But they also need to stay alive another day. It's a numbers game. You can't completely avoid the danger. But we would suggest that if you like your law nice and friendly, you should probably stay out of family law.
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