Attorneys are increasingly turning to videoconferencing in their litigation practice in an effort to work more efficiently and reduce costs.
When having to depose a witness who lives out of state or is unable to come to you, ordinarily, you would have to pack up your things and travel to them. This requires considerable planning and preparation by lawyers, paralegals, and witnesses while adding significant travel time and expense. There’s also greater risk of complications due to traffic, flight delays, cancellations, parking, transporting exhibits, navigating security lines just to name a few.
Conducting a live deposition via videoconference allows you to conveniently participate locally, while seeing and hearing the witness remotely through live video. It’s the next best thing to being there, face-to-face, but at a fraction of the cost and with way less hassle.
10 Tips for a Successful Videoconference Deposition
At Alpha Reporting, we have spent years providing first-class videoconferencing services. Based on our experience, we have compiled the following tips to help ensure your deposition proceeds seamlessly.
- Schedule Everyone ASAP
Schedule your video conference as soon as possible. Avoid last-minute scheduling as conference rooms and equipment tend to book in advance. In addition, there are various ways to connect participants via videoconference, so it’s important to test audio and video prior to the day of deposition in order to troubleshoot any technical issues ahead of time.
- Time Zones
Keep in mind the location of each participant and take note of any time zone differences to ensure all parties know the exact starting time at their location. 10AM in New York is 9AM in Nashville, 7AM in Los Angeles, and 3PM in Paris, France.
- Witness Location is Primary
Be sure to schedule the court reporter to be present at the witness location. Since it is the witness who will be under oath, the court reporter is best able to record their testimony accurately without any physical or technological barriers. The same reasoning applies if there is need for an interpreter or legal videographer.
- Prepare Exhibits
Prior to the day of deposition, prepare and ship any exhibits to all participant locations or email documents to be printed on-site. This will help ensure proceedings start promptly and everyone has the necessary materials on hand.
- Provide Case Information to Court Reporting Firm
It is best practice to provide the deposition notice, including case caption and appearances, to the court reporting firm when scheduling. Oftentimes, the court reporter will research the matter in advance for spellings and any unique names or technical terms that may be used during testimony. A prepared court reporter with knowledge of the case is far better equipped to keep up with faster speakers and more complex testimony, leading to a smoother deposition experience with fewer interruptions and clarifications.
Many times, videoconferences are conducted in conference rooms at law firms or at the court reporter’s office and backgrounds aren’t an issue. However, if you’re appearing via laptop and webcam, or even smartphone, make sure to have a neutral background free from distraction. Avoid sitting with a window behind you, as changing light levels will affect the camera’s brightness.
Dress appropriately. As a lawyer, this may seem obvious to you, but if your witness is the one being deposed, it’s wise to remind them they will be on camera and should dress appropriately.
Additionally, it’s easy to forget you’re on camera once the proceedings begin. Be mindful of your appearance and body language, as all participants will be able to see you. This is especially true if you’re in the comfort of your own office. It’s a good idea to avoid multitasking on video, as others will notice and may catch you off guard.
- Can You Hear Me Now?
Keep in mind, during the proceedings, your microphone will be on. Be sure to turn it on and off accordingly, especially if you’re having private discussions at your location.
- Schedule Everyone ASAP
BONUS TIPS – HOW TO MAXIMIZE THE EFFECTIVENESS OF YOUR DEPOSITION:
- Record Proceedings via Video
Consider hiring a legal videographer to record the proceedings for review and to use at trial for greater impact. A legal videographer can provide HD video, crystal-clear audio, and sync the video to the stenographer’s transcript for trial presentation.
** Remember to state your intention to record video in the Notice to Take Deposition to avoid any objection by counsel before the proceedings begin.
- Realtime Feed of Transcript
There is an added benefit of viewing a live transcript from the court reporter during the proceedings. A Realtime certified court reporter can offer this as part of their service. You’ll be able to follow the testimony more closely with the written transcript in front of you.
Alpha Reporting’s team of court reporters and videographers will be happy to assist with your next videoconference deposition. We encourage you to speak with one of our representatives to answer any questions or concerns as well as review the specific details pertinent to your case. You can look over our videoconferencing services, and see what temporary conference room options we offer near you; including court reporters, videographers, conference rooms, and video conferencing all in house.
Learn more about our videoconferencing services