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When a Pennsylvania resident or business decides to take a dispute to court, numerous steps will more than likely occur before seeing the inside of a courtroom. One of the steps that may occur is a deposition, which can be an integral part of civil litigation. Understanding the basics could help alleviate any anxiety or stress regarding this process.

A deposition is designed to learn information from a person who could end up testifying in court. This part of the discovery process consists of an attorney asking questions of that individual. The information gathered helps provide an indication of what could happen at trial.

Even though a deposition takes place in a less formal setting than a courtroom, such as an attorney’s office, it does not mean it is not a legal proceeding. The person being deposed will swear to tell the truth. A court reporter makes an official record of the proceedings. Attorneys can use this testimony to determine many things, such as whether a person should or would testify in court and whether he or she is telling the truth.

Any number of people could be present at a deposition. Certainly, the attorney who wanted the deposition, his or her client may attend, and the attorney or attorneys for the other side will also more than likely be there. The person being deposed may decide to have his or her own attorney there as well.

This is just one aspect of discovery that could take place during civil litigation. The most important thing to do at a deposition is answer the questions as truthfully as possible. A Pennsylvania resident who receives a notice to appear at a deposition may want to confer with an attorney prior to attending to protect his or her rights.