Excerpted from SEAK’s stream on-demand course, “Medical Malpractice Survival Training for Physicians”
I can’t emphasize this enough. You know, two of the big main events in the case are going to be your deposition testimony and your trial testimony if the case goes to trial. There’s two parts to your preparation for both of those events. You have to prepare by yourself. You’ve gotta master the record, master the facts involved in your care, where exactly in the record you’ve made entries, and your reasoning.
Was there a question? Okay, sorry. So you need to do that. And that takes time. That takes a lot of time that you need to put in on your own and that no one can do for you. You’ve got to do it yourself to master the record and master the facts of the case. And then the second part of the preparation is to prepare with counsel, have a meeting with the defense counsel where you’re preparing for your testimony, and ask that counsel roleplay with you and ask you hard cross-examination questions to test your ability to answer and defend your care and go over them so that you are prepared for the tough questions. Ask counsel to ask you the hardest questions there are in the case so that you’re able and that you’ve practiced all of these questions, and feel comfortable.
So this meeting is not an hour-long meeting that you have right before you walk into the deposition. Ideally, this is a meeting that takes place on a separate day than the day of your deposition. And ideally, it takes place with counsel that will be with you at the deposition. Okay? It’s not as effective to be prepped by one attorney, and then when you show up at the deposition, you have a whole other attorney that’s representing you. It’s very disconcerting, and it happens. So that’s why it’s important to get that straight. Look, you know, one time you’re going to hear from counsel is when they want to schedule that deposition, they need to make sure you’re going to be present. So make it a rule of thumb that, you know, when you’re involved in a case, that you’re not going to give them a date for the deposition without also getting a date for the prep. A separate date for the prep, making sure that that prep is with the attorney that will represent you at your deposition. Okay? So, you know, that’s when you’re going to hear back from attorneys when they need a date to schedule a deposition, get something out of them too. Get the date for the prep, and it’s not going to be the same date.
I would refuse to prep on the same day of the deposition if I were you because it’s not going to be adequate amount of time. The other thing too is that, you know, after you prepare with counsel, you may want more time to prepare by yourself based on what you learned during your prep session with counsel. So don’t do that to yourself where you’ve got this time crunch. And that is one way something that you can control. You can control that schedule and make sure that you have adequate time to prepare so that you can put your best foot forward when you’re at those critical two juncture.