Like so many industries right now, the legal landscape has changed. Social distancing restrictions are making it more difficult for attorneys to conduct depositions in the ways they’re accustomed to. But it is possible to conduct a remote deposition successfully using our virtual conference room. CompuScripts has been scheduling remote depositions for more than a decade, and we’d like to teach you about preparing for videoconference depositions.
A South Carolina Supreme Court’s emergency order now allows court reporters to administer oaths remotely. This means that it is possible for all participants in a deposition to appear from different locations. For videoconference virtual depositions to be successful, the first requirement is that all participants use desktops, laptops, or mobile devices that have working cameras, microphones, and speakers. In some cases, auxiliary speakers may need to be attached to your device. For best results, use a desktop computer or laptop computer. A tablet will also yield decent results. Mobile phones should be your last resort in a virtual conference room.
Keep your device in a stationary position. Positioning your camera at eye level will produce an image without distortions. And make sure that you will have a strong, consistent internet signal. If you are new to videoconference depositions, CompuScripts offers demonstrations before your deposition goes forward. CompuScripts can also help you test your technology in advance of using our virtual conference room.
A blog titled, “Tips for Taking Depositions by Videoconference in the Age of COVID-19,” appeared in the National Law Review. The section on exhibits is of particular interest. There are two ways to address the inability to physically hand the deponent an exhibit for review. First, you may send exhibits to the parties in advance. The disadvantage, of course, is that the deponent and opposing counsel have the opportunity to review the exhibits before videoconference depositions. The second option is to use electronic exhibits during virtual depositions. This can be accomplished using your videoconferencing platform’s screen-share feature while in the virtual conference room. According to the blog’s author, attorney Katherine Kayatta, “Displaying exhibits electronically allows you to confront a deponent with a document at the time of your choosing.”
The issue of your wardrobe might not be one you’ve considered, but it can have a big impact on your videoconference deposition. In a previous blog titled, “The Videoconference: What Not to Wear,” we offered several wardrobe tips:
Etiquette during virtual depositions is slightly different than for traditional depositions. J. D. Supra reminds litigators that it is helpful to state your name before you initially speak. It is also helpful if you ask questions at a slightly slower rate “so that any participants who may have their devices muted can un-mute themselves in order to object before you move on to the next question.” Look at the camera, rather than the faces onscreen, and limit your movements. As your mother would have said, “Sit still!”
And while CompuScripts loves both pets and children, it is important to keep both from entering the room while you’re attending the virtual deposition. We all remember the viral video of the man giving an interview to the BBC when his children walk in the door, ready to play. It was funny to viewers, but not so funny to their dad, a professor who was offering his opinion on Korean politics.
When you are ready to schedule virtual depositions, contact CompuScripts. We will walk you through both the process and the security protocols we use to keep your deposition private. And during the COVID-19 crisis, we are also waiving setup and connectivity fees associated with virtual depositions; court reporting and legal video services are billed at their standard rates.
There is no need to wait to schedule depositions until social distancing restrictions loosen and court reporting firms are overwhelmed. Schedule your virtual depositions today with CompuScripts and move your practice forward.