3 Ultra-Useful Tips for Scheduling a Remote Deposition

gavel with a white background

3 Ultra-Useful Tips for Scheduling a Remote Deposition

gavel with a white background

The legal process is changing. Since 2020, almost every state has passed rulings allowing for the remote collection of witness testimony. 

When your trial can cost thousands of dollars in legal fees, you want to make sure you have the best means of collecting your evidence. But if you aren’t used to remote depositions, you could be making a lot of mistakes. Here are some simple and easy tips for scheduling your remote deposition.

What Is a Deposition Hearing?

At the very most basic, a deposition hearing is a sworn, out-of-court testimony given by a witness in a civil lawsuit. Functionally, it is a question and answer session between lawyer and witness, and serves to both gain information, as well as create an accountable legal record of witness testimony.

Why Remote?

The pandemic has changed a lot of how interactions between people occur. As we transition globally into more and more remote use services, we see shifts in procedure within all sorts of fields, including the legal system.
Remote depositions are one of those shifts. But these forms of interview present unique challenges for the legal teams involved in the process. 

Check the Technology

Technical issues are a pain in the butt. Nothing can flatline your Deposition hearing like a bad signal, or a lack of necessary equipment. 

There’s a couple of important things to check for in that regard. Firstly, are you all going to be in a Zoom call, or are some of you going to be socially distanced in a single location? Does the Deponent have access to a functioning computer or tablet with which they can connect to your call or video chat?

Another technological concern of remote deposition is transcription. You’ll want to inform the court reporter and their team ahead of time to ensure that you have your transcript in as short a time as possible. You should also talk to them about whether or not you will require a real-time feed ahead of time.

You can also hire a remote deposition service to help you handle these concerns and more.

Request Your Documents

Documentation is an important part of the legal process. In the face of the current climate, getting ahold of those documents can often take more time than you might expect.

Make sure to request any documentation you require well ahead of time.  Remember that even digital copy can often be a little delayed to safety procedures in the current climate.

This also applies to exhibits! Keep a tech support agent on hand, and coordinate with them ahead of time to ensure a timely and proper display of exhibits at request.

Prepare Yourself for Your Remote Deposition

You are the greatest and most important tool in your arsenal. There’s a number of ways you can prepare yourself ahead of time for your remote deposition to get the edge on your opposition.

You know what happens at a deposition hearing normally, but how does a remote deposition differ? Check the local and state laws well ahead of time to ensure you know what changes you may need to make to your setup.

Familiarize yourself with your platform – how is it used, what can it do, what are its limitations? You can also try performing a mock deposition through the platform with a colleague. Remember to adjust your questions and communications styles for a virtual environment!

All Your Remote Needs in One Place

If you want to make preparing for your remote deposition a breeze, contact our team of trained professionals. Depo International is a service built for litigation and provides comprehensive services for your legal needs. 

Check out our blog for more helpful tips!

Tips to Ensure You are Ready for Remote Depositions

Tips to Ensure You are Ready for Remote Depositions

women on a video conference

COVID-19 has completely altered the way depositions function. In some ways, that has been good; remote depositions make it easier (in theory) to get everyone needed together, thanks to videoconferencing. Other aspects of the “new normal,” however, have made witness preparation more challenging.

To help ensure that your witness(es) is ready for depositions or that your depositions go off without a hitch, follow this advice.

Preparation

Test the Technology: Try out all the equipment before things start. Test each component, including feeds located externally to your office (like a witness’ house.) While technical glitches will happen, you want to make sure that your equipment is as reliable as possible.

Test the Witness: Go through a remote dry run with the witness, especially if they are located off-site. This should be done in addition to any other witness prep you need to do and completed a few days before the actual deposition.

Learn the Equipment: You should also familiarize yourself with the deposition equipment. This is so you can easily navigate the equipment during the deposition.

Know the Rules: Go over your state’s remote deposition rules. These can vary from state to state, so knowing your state’s rules is critical to making sure your deposition is lawful.

During

One challenge is getting witnesses comfortable to speaking into a microphone and looking into a camera, with no feedback from other participants.

Be Present: If the deposition is being done in your conference room, sit across from the witness so that you can reassure them as well as assess their reactions to different inquiries. If the witness is doing the deposition from home, go to their physical location and sit next to them.

Contingencies: Before starting, go over with the other party all that is supposed to happen in the deposition. Include the procedure if interference with the electronics or the deposition occurs or if any parties are cut off.

Technical Instructions: Follow any court instructions to the letter regarding labels, statements, etc. Do a spot check with all parties connected shortly before the deposition; this will help avoid any issues once the deposition is supposed to start.

Deposition Recordings: Make sure that the deposition is recorded and that you get a copy of the recording from all parties that record it. Make getting a recording from the opposing counsel part of the deposition agreement if possible.

Close Everything: Everyone on your side should only have the apps or software used to conduct the deposition open on any computers attached to the videoconferencing equipment.

When Questioning

Look directly into the camera when addressing the other side. If talking to a camera and microphone are disconcerting, have someone sit opposite you as if you are talking to them.

Other Tips

Here are some random tips that will help your deposition succeed.

  • Mute your microphone when you are not speaking. Place your microphone as close to the speaker as possible. 
  • Avoid shuffling papers or whispering.
  • Do not interrupt the other side and stop talking when you are interrupted. Once order is restored, reiterate your point for the record.
  • Go over spellings with the court reporter before everyone hangs up.
  • Remote depositions make things trickier, but not impossible. 

These general guidelines will help you conduct your deposition in the most effective manner possible.

 

Remote Depositions Tips: Pointers From the Field

women working on laptop

Remote Depositions Tips: Pointers From the Field

women working on laptop

Teachers, doctors, engineers, and scientists have learned the art of remote working this year. Even lawyers and court reporters have mastered virtual legal proceedings.
And while we all hope for more social interaction this year, there are some remote practices that have proved useful, like remote depositions. Witnesses, court reporters, and legal counsel can use remote deposition tools to collect meaningful information without compromising on health and safety.

Looking for a few tips on conducting remote court depositions? Keep reading!

Test the Tech

When it comes to remote depositions, the internet is your best friend or your worst enemy. Always test your internet, microphone capabilities, sound quality, and video clarity for an online deposition before the scheduled date.
Work with all parties involved to confirm stable internet connection, audio, and video. If you’re worried about the technology, consider hiring a professional deposition service with experience in remote depositions. 

Speak Slowly and Clearly

You’ve heard this since your first oral book report in elementary school – speak slow and clear. It’s never been as important as when conducting a remote deposition. 
The better the enunciation from the speaker, the easier it is for the court reporter to type every single word. Speaking loudly and clearly can make a difference in the overall accuracy of the deposition too. Remind witnesses and any other speaking party to take extra care with each word and phrase.

Dress the Part

Yes, we’d all rather be wearing sweatpants, but a remote deposition is a serious matter. So, dress like it! Professional clothing, with solid colors, is best for remote depositions. 
Check your background to be sure your outfit doesn’t blend in with the colors behind you. Instruct witnesses to dress as they would for a standard court proceeding. This creates a professional aesthetic and cues participants to act professionally. 

Plan the Exhibits 

When conducting a remote deposition, you can choose to share exhibits with witnesses electronically or using paper copies. Decide ahead of time which method you want to use. Remember that paper copies are trickier because the deponent’s counsel can view these documents too.
For electronic sharing, make sure your remote deposition service allows you to share your screen or a document in real-time. Talk to the witness and make sure he or she understands how they will be viewing the exhibits.

Remove Potential Distractions

Do your best to remove in-person and online distractions. All participants should find a quiet, well-lit space without distraction for the remote deposition. Talk to witnesses about these expectations before the deposition so that they can plan.
It’s also important to remove distractions on your computer. Close all browser windows, instant massaging, and email so that you can remain focused throughout the deposition. Instruct witnesses to do the same thing. 

Want Well-Executed Remote Depositions Every Time?

The tips above will help you conduct seamless remote depositions. Preparation, communication, and professionalism are the most important parts of getting a quality remote deposition.

If you’re ready to schedule remote deposition services, just fill out this form. Or contact us for more information.

What Is Trial Consulting? The Basics Explained​

What Is Trial Consulting? The Basics Explained

Courtrooms are not the place to let people see you sweat. In fact, you want to be over-prepared in court. For this reason, hiring a trial consultant has become an important step in winning over the jury. But what exactly is trial consulting and why is it beneficial? Keep reading to learn the basics and how it can help prepare you for court.

What Is Trial Consulting? 

Preparing for court is never an easy task, but trial consulting can lessen the burden. 
A trial consultant is an expert in a particular area relevant to your case. Examples of expertise include sociology, psychology, technology, and law enforcement. Their goal is to aid either the defense or prosecution in presenting a strong case. 

For example, Depo International has a trial consultant who specializes in advanced technology. For this type of consulting, services such as PowerPoint creation, project management, and courtroom technology configuration are offered. 

How Does Trial Consulting Work? 

While trial consultants are familiar with the law, their primary job is to provide your attorney with the resources they are missing. 

Depending on their expertise, a trial consultant’s function may differ. Common ways in which they aid the process are helping with jury selection, courtroom appearance preparation, writing statements, creating visuals, setting up specialized equipment, or even arranging mock trials. 

A trial consultant will also help feed the jury information in a precise way that will sway them in your favor. In technology trial consulting, this could be done by showing them carefully crafted graphics, PowerPoints, and videos to engross them in your case. 
If they can seamlessly make the evidence concise and compelling to the jury, they did their job. 

Trial Consulting Benefits 

One benefit of trial consulting is that it helps prepare you for court. Through trial preparation, you’ll know exactly what to say and how to behave. This will make you more likely to win the case. 

Technology consulting in particular is beneficial so you’re not fiddling with computers in the courtroom. Neither you nor your attorney look unprepared if you cannot fix a technological problem that arises.

A trial consultant will also benefit you by ensuring all the information is presented in clear and visually stimulating ways. Instead of hearing about data or an event that transpired, everyone can actually see it. This way, the jury will understand and engage with the material, no matter how complex the case may be. 

Now You Know the Basics of Trial Consulting 

No one ever wants to look unprepared, especially not in front of a jury. And you shouldn’t have to worry that a broken projector or lack of visual aids could make you appear that way. And while your case may be compelling, hiring a trial consultant could be the difference between winning and losing in the end. 

Take the step now for the best trial experience. Schedule a consultation to begin your trial consulting with Depo International today.  

The Most Commonly Asked Questions About Depositions

The Most Commonly Asked Questions About Depositions

The law is all about open questions. 

Depositions can last up to seven hours. Prosecution and defense teams can ask a witness questions about any topic relevant to a court case. This can include personal or work information. 

When people hear that they have a deposition, they have a lot of questions. Don’t panic. You can get the facts you need so you have a fair and safe time in court. 

Here is a quick guide. 

What Are Depositions?

Depositions are testimonies that are recorded outside the courtroom. They are part of discovery, in which lawyers gather evidence to build their cases. It occurs before a trial takes place. 

A person receives a subpoena informing that they will be deposed. The subpoena includes a time and place where they should appear. The person can request to change the time or place.

Before being asked questions, the witness is sworn in. They must affirm that they are disclosing the truth during their deposition. 

A deposition allows the prosecution and defense a fair view of the evidence. A deposition could preserve a witness testimony if it took place after an accident. Trials can take years, and witnesses may lose their recollection through time.

A judge is not present during a deposition. A court reporter records the transactions in real-time, giving the judge information about what was said.

What Questions Can an Attorney Ask? 

Attorneys begin depositions with preliminary questions. These questions encourage the witness to stay calm and honest. The common question is, “Have you had a deposition taken in the past?”

The attorney will then move into background questions. They will ask the witness to identify themselves, possibly including their social security number. They will ask about their educational and residential histories. 

They will also ask the witness about their legal history. This information may be personal, but it touches upon their credibility. They can also ask the witness questions about how you prepared for the deposition. 

What Should a Witness Say?

The witness should remain honest. Do not lie under any circumstances. Questions may involve intimate details, but lying can get them thrown in jail. 

Do not volunteer any unnecessary information—answer yes or no questions with a yes or no. Provide concrete details, but they shouldn’t exposit on any events unless they are asked to. 

Do not guess answers. If the witness is uncertain about a response, they should mention that they are uncertain. If a question confuses them, they should ask for clarification. 

Common Questions About Depositions

Depositions can be scary. Get the facts you need so you can prepare for one without worry. 

A deposition is a legal proceeding that takes place out of a courtroom. Attorneys will ask a witness questions about a matter they are related to.

This can include personal questions. The witness should answer questions honestly, but they should not provide long answers. 

Get all the resources you need for depositions. Depo International has more than 40 years of experience in providing high-quality deposition services. Contact us today online, or call our headquarters at 763-591-0535.

What is Real Time Court Reporting?


Real-time court reporting can benefit attorneys for both the plaintiff and the defense, allowing them to access testimony immediately, as it’s happening, and respond accordingly. This is a value-added service from professional court reporters, and can help attorneys craft a thoughtful response, immediately, plus reference important facts when they need them. 

What Is Real-Time Court Reporting?

With a real-time feed during deposition, attorneys can attend remotely, either from their office or from the office of a co-counsel, dramatically reducing the need for travel and expense of remote deposition. Using a court reporting service allows attorneys to concentrate on the words being said, instead of splitting their attention between taking notes and actively listening.

Why Do Attorneys Need Real-Time Reporting?

Once the testimony is transcribed, attorneys or their support teams can easily scroll for pertinent responses, or mark or unmark certain lines of testimony for reference. Or, lines of testimony can be flagged with a number, which corresponds to case-specific issues to easily compile arguments from multiple sources of testimony. The transcriptions are also easily searchable, allowing attorneys to type in certain keywords or phrases to find topics quickly. This is much more efficient than searching through pages of handwritten or typed notes and can save time at trial. Plus, users can insert notes in the testimony for use at a later date. With real-time access to transcribed testimony, lawyers can immediately clarify, if they misheard, versus waiting for a transcription to come back from a traditional court reporter. Sometimes, the answer that you think you hard isn’t actually what was said. Having transcription in real-time can reduce these errors and misunderstandings. 

Advantages For the Hearing Impaired

It’s not just the convenience for attorneys that’s made real-time reporting so popular. Having testimony available in the scripted form, instead of only spoken, makes it easier for hard-of-hearing participants in the trial process to read the testimony and have a greater understanding of what is being said. In fact, in the United States, there have been 2 cases that were successfully appealed deaf or hard of hearing, During the trial process, they weren’t fully able to follow the proceedings. Therefore, real-time reporting enabled these parties to participate without an interpreter. In other cases, jurors may be selected that are deaf or hard of sharing, and employing real-time reporting can open up the juror pool to a wider number of candidates. 

Schedule Your Real Time Court Reporting Today!

Depo International offers easy, effective, and secure depositions from anywhere in the world. Our professional court reporters quickly transcribe testimony at both discovery and trial and compile easy to read notes for you and your team of attorneys. Opting for real-time court reporting can give your case a larger advantage, as you have expert notes delivered immediately, helping you better craft your case. Give us a call or visit us online for a custom evaluation of your needs.

DepoRemote™ Interpreters

DepoRemote™ Interpreters

When you think of having an interpreter for your deposition, I’m sure you think of having them with or next to the witness. But like so many other things, this year we have had to reconsider our options. Here at Depo International it is still possible to have an interpreter during your deposition whether they are with the witness or appearing via DepoRemote separately. We are able to continue utilizing our interpreters via DepoRemote because they exhibit such accuracy, patience and professionalism.

In order for the deposition to run as smooth as possible, here are some steps to take to help everyone:

Make sure you schedule enough time for your deposition. Depositions with interpreters can take up to twice as long as you’d think, in person or remote.

Consider hardwiring your internet connection. Nowadays most of us have wireless internet, which can be great and have good speed and connection, but if you are experiencing any issues with your wireless internet, we highly suggest hard wiring. This way there is no audio lagging or interruptions during the deposition.

Pick the quietest room in your home, office, etc. background noise can really interfere with what everyone else is hearing.
If you are nervous about your connection, sound and/or video, please call our office and schedule a test run with Marianne.

Prepping the Interpreter with any information, such as names, terminology, notices, exhibits, etc., prior to the deposition will be incredibly helpful to the interpreter. Anything you can send to our firm beforehand so we can pass it along would be greatly appreciated.

Being patient with yourself and others as you speak is the best way to conduct your remote deposition. Speak slowly and loudly, and also wait for someone to finish what they are saying before you start speaking. Interrupting and mumbling is extremely hard to be interpreted.

We have taken it upon ourselves to pay attention to all of the small details to help and prepare you for anything and everything that could occur during the remote deposition so that we are able to make this process as seamless as possible for you and everyone involved. Never hesitate to contact our office at 800-591-9722 or [email protected] with any questions and especially to schedule.

Deposition Tips from Court Reporters in Minneapolis

Adjusting video camera for legal videography

Deposition Tips from Court Reporters in Minneapolis

Adjusting video camera for legal videography

Deposition Tips from Court Reporters in Minneapolis

If you’re a young lawyer, you may want to improve your deposition-taking skills to prove yourself invaluable to your firm. When working with Minneapolis court reporters like Depo International in the discovery process, you need to use your skills to gather enough relevant information. Although every lawyer has a style of their own, you can still improve your skills with some proven tips and tricks. Here are some of the tips you can use if you want to become great at depositions.

  • Know the Law

Some lawyers overlook the importance of researching the law before starting the discovery process. You should know the questions to ask if you want to improve your skills. The construction of a theory for the case will depend on your law knowledge. When you use this technique effectively, you can get the evidence to support your argument with ease.

  • Avoid Scripts

One of the biggest mistakes that young lawyers make is spending too much time on scripts and forgetting they need to listen. When deposing a witness, you should listen to everything they say. Sometimes the witness may provide the best testimony that’s not in response to your question. Giving all eyes and ears to the deponent can enable you to concentrate on what they say and improve your deposition-taking skills.

  • Understand the Role of the Witness

You should understand the position of every witness in the case. You can go through the initial disclosures or other documents to determine the role of the witness. Your opponent’s experts will provide powerful opinions on some topics.

When you know every witness’s contribution, you can plan your questions accordingly and identify the strategic approach to use for every one of them. You should use open-ended questions when dealing with those who witnessed or are involved in the production to get more information. Avoid open-ended questions when dealing with your opponent’s experts, as they’ll supplement their opinion.

  • Evaluate the Probability of the Witness Attending the Trial

A witness can decline to attend a trial, forcing you to use their deposition transcript or video in a trial. Although legal videography will cost you extra money, it’s worth it. The video can help you capture everything during the session, including questions, answers and statements. Nonverbal communication using eyes, tones and facial expressions is best captured in a video.

  • Create a List of Questions in Advance

Before taking a deposition, it’s advisable to prepare your questions in advance. You’ll have enough time to familiarize yourself with the questions and be in a better position to know what to expect from the witnesses. You’ll be able to request for clarification when you feel that the witnesses aren’t providing the expected responses.

  • Follow Up

You can improve deposition-taking skills by thoroughly exploring your witness’s testimony. Although you may have prepared your outline on how you’re going to handle the witnesses, it’s always advisable to be flexible. If there’s a need to go beyond what you’d included in your outline, don’t hesitate as any new information can matter in the discovery deposition.

Contact Us for Deposition Services

If you’re looking for Minneapolis court reporters, you want to deal with a reputable company. Depo International provides global deposition services. You can reach us anytime and anywhere. You can contact us or visit our offices in Minneapolis and Las Vegas for legal videography and secure remote depositions.

DepoRemote™ Security

DepoRemote™ Security

We know how important security is for remote depositions, and with DepoRemote™, you can feel confident that your meeting is secure. We are BAA and HIPAA compliant. Our platform is encrypted and 100% secure. Each DepoRemote™  conference has its own unique link, meeting ID and password protection. Each participant needs to have the link and password in order to join the conference. Meetings are not listed publicly, they are by invitation only.

We also utilize a “waiting room” feature, which means that each participant has to wait until the host of the meeting lets them into the video conference. Each remote deposition that we schedule will be hosted by one of our DepoRemote™  specialists. The host will start the meeting, and watch the waiting room to make sure that only the people that are supposed to be in the meeting are allowed in. This ensures that no one can participate, view, or listen to the video conference without permission.

If you need the meeting to be recorded, we will not record to the cloud. Instead, the recording is stored locally. We do not want to take any chances with the possibility of hackers stealing video recordings that are stored in the cloud. We keep the video recordings stored safely here in our office, and can provide you with it at any time.

Rest assured, we at Depo International, want to make sure your DepoRemote™  meeting is as safe and secure as possible, and we are taking all precautions necessary to provide you with that security.

Remember that we do have DepoRemote™  technicians that you can schedule to attend the deposition, and to be there to assist you with anything you may need. Contact our office for more information.

Feel free to watch the other clips on our website, for more helpful tips and information about remote depositions, and about our services.

How To Prepare for a DepoRemote™

How To Prepare for a DepoRemote™

When you are ready to schedule a remote deposition, simply contact our office as you normally would when scheduling a deposition. We will add the information to our calendar, and set up the DepoRemote™ connection. As soon as you receive the link and connection information from me, you can forward it to all of the other participants, including the witness. Or, if you would like our office to send the DepoRemote™ information to the participants, we are happy to do that as well, just provide us with the email addresses that we should send it to.

We highly recommend doing a test call sometime before the deposition. You can just let us know what date and time you are available for a quick test, and we’ll set it up. In the test call, we can make sure that your audio and video connections are strong, and that the computer or device you plan to use for the deposition, will work well. We can also walk you through any of the DepoRemote™ features that you plan to utilize at the deposition. This can really help to avoid any confusion or issues when it’s time for the actual deposition.

If possible, email the exhibits to us before the deposition, so the court reporter has them in front of her, and ready to mark. Additionally, please let us know ahead of time, if you would like to schedule one of our DepoRemote™ Technicians to attend the deposition as well. We can make sure that the DepoRemote™ technician has all of the exhibits there, ready to share when the time is right, in the DepoRemote™ conference.

On the date of the deposition, plan to connect a few minutes early on the DepoRemote™ conference, so that we can make sure you are connected, and that your audio and video are clear.

Please feel free to watch the other video clips on our website, which also contain helpful tips and information about remote depositions, and the services we provide.