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.