If you work in the C-suite, then it is assumed that you have a thorough understanding of the workings of your company. So, it would make sense that executives would feel well equipped to handle any questions regarding the operation of their company in just about any scenario. However, a wealth of institutional knowledge can give executives a false sense of security – especially if they’re heading into a deposition related to company litigation.
If a company faces a lawsuit, it’s crucial that its executives know the context in which they will be testifying and how their legal team wants them positioned in relation to the company’s defense. Legal counsel can play an important role by making sure executives have key documents and by emphasizing which filings are especially important to the testimony executives are being asked to provide. Further, company attorneys are invaluable in explaining the theory behind their legal defense of the company, and exactly how executives fit into the defense strategy.
All too often, an executive will provide information through their testimony that fails to mesh with the corporate defense strategy simply because he or she was unaware of exactly what areas were already covered in prior testimony or because the defense planned to make the information available through other witnesses. Companies can save future legal headaches by requiring executives to work closely with legal counsel to determine exactly what information they will and will not be relied upon to provide during the deposition process, and by clearly defining the executive’s role in the legal defense strategy well before they are called to testify.