Remote Depositions in a Pandemic World

If you’re tired of hearing about the pandemic, you’re not alone. Like many of you, our business model adjusted to the new reality that our volume of remote depositions in a pandemic world increased, while at the same time the need for in-person depositions decreased. Okay, maybe not the need, but for the safety of everyone, attorneys increasingly turned to remote options.

While our court reporting team has been part of many remote depositions, the need to learn more and be aware of changes as a result of the pandemic was a new experience.

Other changes we noticed were in the volume of travel opportunities for court reporters as well as learning more about Zoom and its features. Like you, we had to improve our deliverables as we all became remote workers, court reporters, attorneys, paralegals, and witnesses.

  • 50% is the number estimated for the rate of ongoing remote depositions even as we move toward an in-person world again.
  • There is worry from court reporters who work in courts that their job will become unnecessary. That is to be determined, and likely on a state-by-state basis, and based on the severity of the crime, as has always been the case.
  • Court cases continue to be conducted, even through 2020, and there is still a court reporter shortage, increasing opportunities like travel and working remotely on depositions.

We say this all because how we conduct depositions has changed over the last couple of years and we wanted to share what we’ve learned.

Here are our tips for remote depositions:

  • Educate yourself on the latest technology. It is often the court reporters that arrive early to a deposition, even a remote one, to make sure everyone has access to the Zoom meeting.
  • Create a secure meeting. When scheduling on Zoom, check the settings to be sure there is a passcode required and a unique link. This will help prevent the Zoom hackers from joining the meeting.
  • Organize exhibits. Keep track of exhibits by organizing them into folders on your computer as they are presented so you can refer back to them.
  • Work with the attorneys. As you’re preparing for the remote deposition, remind the paralegals and attorneys that large exhibits should be in zip files, so they are easily shareable. Ask if anyone, including the deponent, is challenged by technology, and assist in their set up.
  • Sharing of exhibits. Be sure to have a way to share exhibits between attorneys, typically a secure file share system.

For some, the idea of remote depositions is relatively new, at least in practice. This makes it important to be detailed in your communications and to arrive ahead of time to handle remote deposition tech issues.

If you’re interested in scheduling a deposition in Phoenix or surrounding areas, call Herder and Associates at 480-481-0649 today!

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