Deposition services often refer to an outside firm or individual, such as a court reporter, who transcribes the deposition. Depositions may be taken for civil or criminal cases, and they are typically done in an attorney's office. A deposition involves a witness giving a statement under oath, typically preceding a trial. Attorneys representing both sides of a case ask questions, and the statements are documented by a transcriber or court reporter. After the information is transcribed or recorded, the documentation is given to both attorneys for use in preparing for trial.
The purpose of a deposition is twofold. First, it allows attorneys to determine what a witness knows. Secondly, it provides a record of the testimony given by a witness.
Depositions allow attorneys on both sides to prepare for trial with access to the same information. This can help prevent either side from being surprised by information revealed during a trial that they did not have adequate time to research. Similarly, it familiarizes all parties with the witnesses and their testimonies. Attorneys on the opposing side will often use a deposition to uncover contradictions in a witness' testimony.
One advantage to a deposition services company is that it can provide staffing and technology that otherwise would not be readily available to a law firm. In addition to taking depositions, these companies may provide videotaping and interpretation or translation services. Translation services are used in cases involving witnesses who do not speak a country's native language. Using a court reporter with expertise in the other languages helps ensure the accuracy of the transcription.
Another reason for using a deposition services company is that a telephone or video deposition may be needed from an out-of-town witness when the attorneys want to expedite the deposition and ensure its integrity is preserved. Video conference software and equipment allows attorneys to question witnesses without being in the same room. A video conference can use software that is capable of linking together various attorneys from any location, via the Internet.
A deposition services company may also arrange for office space, or other technical assistance that may be needed. For example, arrangements can be made for serving subpoenas or expediting the delivery of important documents. Companies that specialize in depositions often have a network of court reporters who are readily available, sometimes anywhere in the world. Some companies boast having customer service available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
When choosing a deposition service, check the firm's credentials and reputation. Some offer court reporters or transcribers who specialize in medical or technology-related cases, for example. Special certifications or membership in professional court reporter organizations may also give an insight into the level of expertise.