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November 12, 2003

The Whole Truth

Yesterday I was in a grueling 6.5 hour depostion. A very persistant attorney was asking me hundreds of questions about a lawsuit I am working on as a Forensic Construction Expert. Several attorneys in the Greater Cincinnati area hire me on a much too-frequent basis as far as I am concerned - yes, I know I should say "No" more often - to help them prevail in legal actions. The work pays well and I enjoy certain parts of it, including depositions.

A deposition is simply an interview. It is a wonderful tool that the legal system offers to attorneys. A deposition allows attorneys to probe the knowledge base of any potential witnesses that may testify in a court or arbitration appearance. Knowledge gained by attorneys in depositions often allows lawsuits to be settled before the trial date. This is a good thing as it ultimately saves the parties in the lawsuit some money.

But I write this because I want to focus on the few words spoken by the court reporter who records every spoken word at a deposition. The reporter is often the first person to speak and she/he says, "Please raise your right hand. Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?"

The whole truth. Think about it. If you want to put a spin on a topic, just tell part of the truth. In fact, the court reporter said yesterday during a break that a half-truth is the same thing as a lie. Wow, is that ever an understatement!

Where am I going with all of this? If you are ever involved in any situation where you are asked about what you saw, heard or know, tell the whole truth. The words you speak can be the salvation of someone's reputation or they can punish a person who deserves to be punished. Never, ever underestimate the power of what you might say.

Posted by Tim Carter at November 12, 2003 9:21 AM

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