Audio Tips for Your Remote Deposition

empty courtroom

Audio Tips for Your Remote Deposition

empty courtroom

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, courts had to move many of their proceedings to remote proceedings instead of in person. That means lawyers and judges alike had to learn new ways of handling their cases. 

One of the things that became evident from this was the essential need for court reporters

However, like judges and lawyers, court reporters needed to learn to work remotely as well. They transitioned to video and audio depositions, but oftentimes sound problems would arise and render testimonials useless. 

Keep reading if you want some awesome audio tips for your next remote deposition. 

The Room

The first thing you need to do is choose the right room to conduct your remote deposition. You should choose a room with thick walls, sturdy doors, and thick windows. 

You should also choose a room where there is little to no traffic. Both foot traffic inside and auto traffic outside should be kept to a minimum if possible. 

The Equipment

If you know anything about electronics such as TVs or speakers, you know how the picture and sound quality can affect your experience with said device.

The same goes for depositions and remote court reporter jobs. You’ll want to get the best quality audio equipment you possibly can. Hi-quality mic’s, headphones, or earpieces are something you don’t want to take lightly.

Otherwise, you may end up with unusable footage or recordings and have to do everything all over again. 

No Wi-Fi

You may be thinking, “No Wi-Fi, but I need to be connected.” Yes, of course, you do. Connect to an ethernet cable for the best sound quality. If you can’t find a place with ethernet, then don’t do the remote deposition there.

Test Your Equipment

You should always run a test of your audio equipment before any remote deposition. Set up 10-15 minutes early and make sure things are in working order. 

A quick sound test will ensure your meeting goes smoothly right from the start and no issues pop up during the meeting.  Check out this video conferencing equipment

Avoid Interruptions

Any interruptions during court reporter jobs are not only a nuisance, but they can also derail the whole deposition. Put a do not disturb sign on the door if you have to.

Also, turn off any push notifications on any computers in the room. And god forbid, turn your phone on silent. You don’t want to come off as an amateur. 

Court Reporter Keyboard

Real-time court reporting can often require you to type while the deposition is happening. You should invest in the quietest keyboard you can find.

Then, you’ll avoid any extra distractions and annoying typing noises while people are talking. 

Remote Court Reporting Done Right

You can take your court reporting to another level with these audio tips. You won’t have to worry about dropping sound, getting interrupted, or losing whole depositions anymore. Put these tips into practice, and you’re all set. 

Contact us to find out more.

 

Recording Remote Depositions: What to Know as a Court Reporter

person's hand typing on a keyboard

Recording Remote Depositions: What to Know as a Court Reporter

person's hand typing on a keyboard

In April 2020, the world stood still, but the work of the courts had to continue. Enter in the remote deposition.

As depositions moved remote, many believed that recording is an equal substitute for videography. Yet, there is a difference between hitting the record button and having a videographer present.

If you are a court reporter, you may be wondering if the court will admit a deposition you recorded. The answer is, it depends.

Keep reading to learn more about the admissibility of recording remote depositions.

Court Reporter Transcripts Versus Video Recordings

A recorded deposition is not an equal or a replacement of a certified court reporter’s transcript.

Recently, in Alcorn v. City of Chicago (2020), Judge Harjani ruled that Plaintiff could not use recorded testimony in her case. Plaintiff thought that the symmetries of the certified transcript proved the veracity of the recording.

Yet, pairing a certified transcript with a zoom recording does not certify the recording.

Several factors affect admissibility. One issue is that no one annotates the video and states start and end times for the record.

But, the most critical issue that Judge Harjani underlined was that there was no videographer present.

Why Does a Video Recording Need to Be Certified?

Court reporters ensure the integrity of the transcribed testimony. Competing counsels would each present their versions of the deposition without a certified court reporter. As a result, it would be impossible for the judge or jury to find the truth.

Likewise, a videographer certifies the accuracy of a video recording. Without certification, Judge Harjani argues, each side could present their own contradictory recordings.

How Is a Recording Certified?

Videographers do much work to ensure that the recordings they take are admissible in court. There are over sixty standards that a videographer must meet for a recording to be permitted.

The videographer has to label each recording with the date, the run time, the existence of protected material, and much more. They also have to maintain a chronological log of recorded depositions and document the chain of custody.

These steps are there to ensure the deposition was recorded with fairness and transparency.

It’s easy to see why the court reporter in Acorn v. Chicago would not certify the recording without a videographer present.

Remote Depositions Are Here to Stay

Virtual depositions emerged out of necessity during the pandemic, but it appears they are here to stay. Zoom depositions have proved helpful when it is impossible to have all parties meet in the same country, let alone in the same room.

As a court reporter, you must remember that courts will not accept all recorded remote depositions.

The only way to ensure that your recording is admissible is to have a certified videographer present. Hiring professionals ensure that your recorded deposition goes effortlessly, even when it’s time for the dreaded breakout room.

We at Depo International offer expert legal videography services. Contact us to schedule your recorded remote deposition.

Tips to Make You Better at International Travel During a Pandemic

How to Safe While Traveling

Legal offices and courts now offer in person services again, meaning people need to travel for depositions and court dates. When judicial proceedings take place between people from different states or countries, it requires travel. While things are open, you still want to stay as safe as possible. In this article, we will discuss tips to travel safely during a pandemic. 

Practice Social Distancing

Airports get crowded, but you need to do everything you can to maintain a safe distance of at least 6 feet between you and other people whenever possible. Most airports already have processes to ensure proper social distancing while in line and the different lounges and refreshment stands.

While on the plane, social distancing can get a little more complicated. Get as many seats in a row as you can to reduce your interaction with the other passengers as much as possible. 

Use Personal Protective Equipment

The rules vary greatly from place to place regarding wearing a mask. Keep plenty of clean masks handy to wear when required and when you cannot maintain a safe distance from others, such as in a crowded courtroom or on a plane.

You do not need masks in areas with plenty of fresh air and space, but you should still wear them whenever requested. 

Sanitize

Keep plenty of sanitizer on you (in travel size containers, of course). Use them whenever you touch surfaces that many other people touch, including door handles, seatbelt, and pens. Sanitizer kills 99.9% of germs, including the Corona-19 virus, so you can’t be too careful. 

Get Vaccinated

You can get vaccinated for free, so it makes sense to get it done. In some cases, vaccination may be required to travel to a specific destination. You will need to hold onto proof of your vaccination and wait 14 days before traveling. You have three vaccines available: 

  • Pfizer
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Moderna

Pfizer and Moderna require two injections, while the Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires one shot, but Pfizer and Moderna have slightly higher effectiveness levels. The vaccine you get depends on the facility you go through. 

Use Virtual Services When Possible

You don’t necessarily need to travel internationally for every deposition. If you can replace the travel with a virtual meeting, you should make use of this whenever possible. Not only will you stay safe, but you will also save a lot of time and money. Most courts allow for the option these days and understand the preference to stay at home, so feel free to ask about the option. 

Depo International offers virtual legal deposition services, including virtual court dates, interpretation, consultation, and complex case managementContact one of our offices in Chicago, Minneapolis, and Las Vegas today to learn more about how we can help you. 

How to Break Out of Your Remote Work Rut

a women sitting relaxed in front of her computer

How to Break Out of Your Remote Work Rut

a women sitting relaxed in front of her computer

Since March 2020, the pandemic caused a shift in the way people work. For over a year, our new norm went from chaotic mornings rushing to the office to working from home.

During this time, research shows that people’s productivity escalated. Many of us find joy in balancing work with relationships and hobbies. But even with these positive changes, we can fall into a remote work rut.

That means you feel burnt out from performing the same tasks every day with no significant change. If you are having trouble getting back into an efficient remote working routine, this guide can help.

Get a Head Start

According to the Harvard Business Review, people who wake up early accomplish more tasks on their to-do lists. Not only that, but they also report feeling more satisfied with their days.

If your days are more busy than lazy, then get into the routine of waking up earlier in the morning. Grab a cup of coffee, take some time to relax and become alert, then start on that to-do list for the day. You will finish your duties earlier and feel a higher sense of pride.

Plan Your Daily Work Schedule

For many people, working from home means planning their work schedules. One of the pitfalls of working from home means you always have something to do for your remote working job.

It is all too easy to work 24/7. If this is you, then take some time at the beginning of the week, like Sunday, to go over what you need to do. Give yourself deadlines if you must, and vow to yourself that you will work X amount of hours and then let yourself be off for the day/night. 

Perform Other Tasks

Schedule some time to do other things that help you decompress from work. If you can take small breaks, then get up and clean or go for a walk. You should also have time to tend to the hobbies you love in life.

Whether you enjoy hiking, reading, or writing, you need time to do those things. Schedule days to go out, or a few hours at night to have to yourself. 

Hire a Service to Help

Some remote jobs are more complicated than others. If you are a lawyer, paralegal, or court reporter, then your remote working contains a substantial amount of duties.

If you need things delivered to you online like a deposition, testimonials, or legal videography, then you can look into companies like us here at Depo International. We offer a wide range of services to aid you in any legal matters online. 

Take a Break to Beat the Remote Work Rut

When all else fails, take a break. And not a few minutes or even an hour-long break. Take a day or two, or whatever your work will allow.

Self-care is crucial to re-energizing ourselves for life’s many responsibilities. If you need longer to decompress, don’t be afraid to schedule some time away. By doing this, you will return to work with higher stamina and a clearer mind. 

Hire Depo International

As you can tell, there are several ways to get yourself out of your remote work rut. Remember, schedule your day so that you have both times to work and accomplish other tasks.

And, if you need a break, do not be afraid to treat yourself to some self-care. If you work from home as a court reporter or need a deposition online, Depo International is here to help.

We deliver quick, online depositions from any location at any time. If you want to find out all about DepoRemote, please feel free to schedule an appointment with us today. 

5 Characteristics of Great Court Reporters

women typing on a computer with a drink beside her

5 Characteristics of Great Court Reporters

women typing on a computer with a drink beside her

The median court reporter salary was $60,130 last year. If you’re wondering how to become a court reporter or you’re looking into court reporter school, does that figure motivate you to get more serious about pursuing court reporter jobs? 

What is a court reporter anyway? Court reporters sit in at trials, depositions, and other legal proceedings to transcribe word-for-word what is said. Many states require licensing or certification for this important job. 

What does it take to be a great court reporter? Keep reading to learn these 5 crucial characteristics every court report should possess.

Punctuality 

It is imperative that a court reporter shows up on time to court, depositions, and every legal proceeding. It is not acceptable to have attorneys, witnesses, and judges left waiting for you to appear to start your very important job. 

It’s not fair to waste someone’s time and it is very unprofessional. If being punctual is not in your DNA, this isn’t the job for you. 

Possess Excellent Grammar and Spelling Skills 

Do you know how to use your and you’re correctly? How about their, there, and they’re? Excellent grammar and spelling skills are a must for a court reporter. 

There are editing and proofreading involved in reviewing the court transcripts to prepare them for clients and the court. The transcripts should be free of spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors. 

Strong Time Management Skills 

Once the deposition or court proceeding has concluded, a court reporter works independently to prepare the transcript. Being able to effectively manage time is important. There are deadlines to meet. You need to be able to balance your appointments with the follow-up work of editing and proofreading that is also part of the job. 

Accurate and Speedy 

You have no control over how fast people are speaking in a trial or deposition. You have to record exactly what they say, so it’s important to be extremely accurate. This requires focus and speedy typing skills.

When training for the job, you are required to pass a speed test so this skill is vitally important. 

Respects Confidentiality

If you love to gossip, you have to push that trait aside when you’re working as a court reporter. You’ll learn things in court about people that is not public information. It’s up to you to act as a professional and keep the details of any court proceeding to yourself and the transcript you’re preparing. 

A Team of Great Court Reporters 

Do you know who can help you with your court reporting needs? We at Depo International are the “Trial Lawyer’s Choice” for comprehensive court reporting, legal support and legal videography services with over 40 year’s experience in the business. 

Contact us today and learn more about our comprehensive services. 

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

women on a video conference

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.