By Jedidiah McKeehan

A deposition is one of the terms you hear quite frequently in relation to legal matters.  Depositions are something that take place in a great number of legal cases, but what exactly is a deposition?

A deposition is a party (either the person being sued, or the person suing), or a witness’s sworn out of court testimony.  A deposition usually takes place in a lawyer’s conference room, and an attorney for each party will be present as well as the plaintiff and the defendant in the lawsuit and possibly the witness being deposed.  What makes the deposition official is the presence of a court reporter who swears in the witness and transcribes everything that is being said during the deposition.

The purpose of a deposition is to gather information about the case.  Lawyers are allowed to ask about a broad range of topics, going far beyond what they could ask witnesses about in an actual trial.  This allows lawyers to get a full picture of what the other party or witness will testify about, whether they are believable, and how they will do as a witness if the case actually gets to trial.

During the actual questioning of someone during a deposition, the lawyer for the other side can ask questions with the other lawyer not having really any ability to stop them or tell their client how to answer.  There is some ground for objections, but the ground is very limited.

Depositions can be very short or they can be marathon affairs taking several days, but depending on the complexity of the case, they usually take a few hours.


Jedidiah McKeehan is an attorney practicing in Knox County and surrounding counties.  He works in many areas, including criminal, personal injury, landlord-tenant, probate, and estate planning. Visit for more information about this legal issue and other legal issues.