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!
Are you preparing an expert witness for an upcoming court case? Understand that it takes time to find the right expert and to prepare them for your case. Because they are specialized in their field or on a particular topic, they may be challenging to handle. Couple that with your expertise and familiarity with the case, and the interaction could be challenging. Remember why you’ve hired them – to offer their insight and experience that can ultimately help or hinder your case.
Begin by asking why you need an expert to testify.
There are a variety of reasons to request an expert witness to testify. These include clarifying or explaining a complex portion of the case for the jury, requirement of the law depending on the jurisdiction, or an expert to oppose another expert witness. Forensic experts are perhaps the most commonly seen not only on television shows but also cases like the Casey Anthony or OJ Simpson trials where evidence needs to be explained in a way the jury can understand.
Once an expert has been hired, address the key reasons they are needed for the case.
You?re the attorney so you know the case best. You know why the witness was hired so you can focus them on that portion of the strategy whether that’s the cause of death for Caylee Anthony, OJ’s leather glove, or something else. That way your legal team can make the most of preparing an expert witness, including requesting that they begin developing their testimony. Oftentimes witness prep time is limited so it’s important to focus them right from the start.
Let the expert give the tough testimony.
Preserve your relationship with your client by letting the expert talk about unfavorable portions of the case rather than you. That will maintain the trust you’ve developed with your client which is especially important if they are also one of the witnesses taking the stand. Rogue witnesses or clients are only good for plot points on television or in the movies. In real life, they can screw up a case and make your job a lot more challenging.
Preparing an expert witness is about what they say, not necessarily how they say it.
Some experts have the false impression that they need to sound a certain way to be taken seriously and that’s not true. They simply have to offer their expertise to support your client’s case. Jurors tend not to play well with experts who are arrogant, for example, and tend to connect more with folks who are like them. Take that into consideration when you hire an expert.
As with any other witness, remind them that it is okay to ask for clarification or to say they don’t know the answer. They’re people just like us and the jury will appreciate the honesty. Preparing an expert witness, or any witness, takes time and effort from the legal team but it is worth it when the case ends in favor of your Phoenix client.
With the New Year comes new decisions like moving your Phoenix law firm. At Herder and Associates, we’re set to move our headquarters to the prestigious Renaissance Center in central Phoenix as we grow our court reporting firm. The move increases our ability to serve current and future clients in Arizona and across the nation. Relocating is exciting but it also comes with decisions and planning.
Why are you moving your Phoenix law firm?
Whether it’s to move out of your home office into executive suites, add people to your legal team, or to grab space at a prestigious location, there are considerations to be made. If you’re moving simply to be in the new development, we caution you to look at the complete picture before signing a new lease. Consider the following:
- What’s the cost to get out of your current lease? It could be cost prohibitive to leave your current location if you have to break a lease.
- What’s the cost per square foot at the current location versus the new location? Brand new offices tend to have a higher per square foot cost than older buildings.
- Why do you want to leave your current location? If it’s because you want less walls and more open workspace, think about renovating instead of moving. It may cost less and get you the same results.
It’s grand to think about having the corner office with a view of downtown but if your current office is suiting your needs, it might not be time to move. On the other hand, if your law firm is poised for expansion and has the resources to move, it may be worth it to have a new address and more space.
What’s the cost of moving?
The costs of moving aren’t as simple as packing boxes. In addition to the cost of breaking a lease that I mentioned earlier, there are costs like hiring professional movers and the design and build of the new office to fit the needs of your firm.
- Office furniture – Are you going to move old furniture into your new office? Either way you’ll need to either get rid of it or move it. If you get rid of it, there’s the cost of purchasing new furniture.
- Wiring for technology – The new space may need to be hardwired for internet, phones, and servers.
- Data Security – Even if you don’t have someone full-time on staff, consider hiring an IT firm to act as Chief IT Officer for you law firm ensuring your client and case information is securely stored and safe from hackers.
As your Phoenix law firm expands, there will likely be additional cost considerations.
What’s your plan for moving?
If you’ve decided it’s time to move your firm, plan ahead to make sure moving day is as smooth as possible.
- Hire professional movers. Ask their advice about what you pack, what they pack, and if the move needs to be over a series of days or weeks. The larger your firm, the more likely the move will need to be done in phases.
- Assign a team member to coordinate the move. They can communicate with the movers as well as with the rest of the team to develop a timeline of what needs to be done and by whom.
- Don’t move everything. Take stock of what you need to move, what can be placed in storage, and what can be thrown away or recycled. You may even be able to sell old office furniture though likely not for the same amount as what you paid for it.
With a fair amount of analysis and planning, we?re sure your move will be a good one!
For us, the investment in expansion reinforces our roots in Phoenix and enables us to serve our clients, delivering high quality transcripts accurately and on-time. Contact us today to schedule your next deposition.
Where do you go when you want a referral for an electrician, accountant, or attorney? Most people take out their smartphones and head to social media sites like Facebook and ask their friends for recommendations. That?s great but if you?re a lawyer, paralegal, or court reporter, how do you connect with your community? You might think because of the confidentiality of your work that you need to stay away from social. We politely disagree and offer our social media tips for legal professionals that include having a consistent presence and new website content.
Why are you using social media?
Your friends might be using social media for ranting about their boss but we caution you (and them) to be more focused in your online efforts. Even on a private page someone can screenshot what you?ve written and send it to someone else that you may not want to see it.
If you?ve been involved with a divorce or family law case especially, you can appreciate the enormity and seriousness of what can happen when you use social media certain ways. What used to be he said she said is now exhibits of text messages and social screenshots. It also happens to businesses who fail to use social the way we think it should be.
Who is your target client?
I often hear that legal professionals, and others, have no time to manage social media and I ask why. They tell me how they have to create content for multiple social media sites, message contacts, and manage comments. My next question is to find out who their target client is.
Once you?ve identified your target or ideal client, focus marketing efforts, including social media, on the sites where they are spending time. If they?re 30+ year old professionals, consider Facebook and LinkedIn and avoid Instagram and Pinterest as the latter are for the younger crowd.
What do you post on Facebook, LinkedIn, and blog?
On first glance it may appear you can post the same on your Facebook business page and LinkedIn profile updates but I caution you using this strategy. The reason is that the audiences are different.
- Facebook is family-centric, a place where people go for recommendations, so you want an engaging presence. Mix news with facts and ask questions.
- LinkedIn is where you connect with other legal professionals or find people to hire for your team – court reporters, legal assistants, paralegals, attorneys.
LinkedIn also has a publishing feature which is beneficial to establish you as the expert in your area of law. In addition, I encourage you to blog consistently (2 times a month minimum) on your own website because Google loves new content. Keep in mind users, whether on LinkedIn or your blog, are attracted to catchy headlines and content. The more you can entertain while telling a relatable story, the better to connect with your audience.
The next time someone is looking for a recommendation for a legal professional, we want your firm to be the one that is mentioned! Have fun and let us know how you?re using social media tips for legal professionals.
Before scheduling a deposition in Phoenix, it?s important to have specific information about the case, including witness names, to give to the court reporter prior to the deposition. While it can seem like a needless task, we promise it will help make the actual deposition run more efficiently and your court reporter will appreciate your effort.
Scope of Work
When scheduling a deposition, it?s important to understand the scope of work. That will help your court reporting firm find the right reporter for your case. If you anticipate needing a court reporter longer-term, that?s important for us to know so we can check availability of our team. If you need final transcripts on a rush status, have multiple exhibits to log, or need to hire a legal videographer, let us know ahead of time.
Specific Dates and Times
The sooner you can communicate specific dates and times, the easier it is for us to schedule our court reporters for you. That?s especially true if you have a request for a specific reporter.
We?d also want to know where the deposition will take place. If it?s in the Phoenix metro area and you need someone on-site, that is likely easier than if you need them on-site in Yuma or Globe. We can certainly do our best to accommodate those requests and/or suggest a reporter who can work remotely.
If your witness is a first-time deponent, you or someone from your legal team may want to spend extra time pre-deposition talking about why they?ve been called and what they can expect. That will help the actual deposition day run more smoothly. Your court reporter will appreciate your effort to make the witness comfortable.
If you can provide a witness list to the court reporter prior to the deposition, that would be most helpful. It?s their job to make sure names and titles are spelled correctly so if they can familiarize themselves with that information ahead of time, it will make the deposition a more efficient process.
Whether it?s your first time scheduling a deposition in Phoenix or your 100th time, Herder and Associates is here to help. Give us a call to schedule today!
PHOENIX, AZ (PRWEB)?NOVEMBER 18, 2017
Phoenix court reporting firm Herder and Associates offers advice to first-time deponents.
As a first-time deponent, the process can be quite intimidating. Marty Herder, President of Herder and Associates with 37 years of experience, offers advice to these deponents and the counsel that calls them. Begin by making the deponent feel comfortable and explain why they have been called making it important to contact them prior to deposition date so they understand what is happening at the deposition.
Herder says, ?While someone like me has worked on thousands of depositions, we have to remember there are people who have never experienced this. First-time deponents are often nervous and unsure of what to expect. Assure them they are there to provide testimony related to a specific event. Answer truthfully and to the best of your knowledge.?
Deponents often have a tendency to speak softly or ramble in their answers which can be challenging for even the most experienced court reporters.
Herder offers, ?Let the witness know they only answer what they are asked. If the question is if they know about the incident, the appropriate answer is simply yes or no. Don?t go on to tell the story until asked. The attorney likely has a strategy.?
A deposition is part of the discovery phase of a case. While cases go to court, many are settled based on what is found out during this phase making it critical for all deponents to tell what they know to the best of their knowledge.
For your next Arizona deposition or other court reporting service, please contact?Arizona’s finest court reporting firm, Herder & Associates, at 480-481-0649, and look us up at?http://www.CourtReportersAZ.com.
Whether you?re a solo law practice or whether you work within a larger firm, getting and staying organized could lead you toward higher productivity and more billable hours.
Time is in short supply for lawyers, paralegals, and court reporters. You continually have client demands on the books, and you may feel pressure to bring in more clients and up their billable hours, but how do you do that when you?re already feeling overwhelmed and overbooked?
Organizational skills and organizing your law office will:
- Feel more in control
- Find needed information more quickly
- Clear your head
- Offer a better first impression for prospective clients and colleagues
- Amp up your productivity. You may find you have more time for yourself because you?re better organized at the office.
What can you do to become better organized?
Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day, 168 hours in a week; how you use those hours will either lead to a feeling of accomplishment or a feeling of overwhelm, for different cases like criminal cases or accidents and getting help from resources as www.elgphx.com/auto-accidents can also be helpful for this.
Productivity as not as much about managing time as it is managing tasks and your schedule.
Organize your desk. A CNN Money survey found ?the average person loses an hour a day because of disorganization.? Can you afford to lose that daily hour?
Consider the items you use on a regular basis and place those items within reach. Limit the number of personal items on your desk, they will eventually overwhelm your workspace. File items you don?t use regularly. Make certain your desk chair, monitor and keyboard are ergonomically aligned; feeling better will help productivity.
Your desk is your command center. It should be up to flow smoothly and to help you work more productively.
Do a thorough clean-up. Before you organize your desktop, open all the desk drawers, cubbies and file cabinets and determine if what?s in there is necessary to your practice. Make three piles ? trash, file, recycle ? and use only these piles.
Recycle and discard virtual clutter. What does your computer desktop look like? Do you have thousands of unread emails? Take time and put those items into folders. Clear up that area of your workspace because having a cluttered virtual desktop is as overwhelming as is physical desktop clutter.
Don?t open an email or touch a piece of incoming paper without having an action plan. Act upon each email or document. Whether that action is to delegate it, take your own action upon it or to trash it, if you touch it you have committed to an action.
Personal productivity. Plan the next day before you leave the office. If you have your to-dos, appointments and other task items written down, you can jump right into work when you walk into the office the following day. Writing down your to-dos and tasks and tracking client projects keeps you focused on helps you meet deadlines you?ve set.
Enhanced productivity isn?t all about adding more billable hours to your week, it is as much about gaining balance in your work and your professional life as it is about billable hours.
If you?re a Phoenix court reporter or attorney wondering how to get more organized to enhance your productivity, we?d love to hear from you on what methods you use to organize your legal office for success.
Do you remember your first court appearance as an attorney? If you were nervous, had questions, and wanted to understand what would happen, you?re a lot like a first-time deponent.
It can be quite intimidating entering a room with attorney(s) and a Phoenix court reporter. To get the best from your deponent, prepare them prior to deposition day.
Tell them why they have been called.
Begin by explaining they have been called as part of the discovery process and they are a potential witness. In Arizona, they are allowed to be called only once for a maximum of four hours unless agreed to by parties or ordered by the court. Let them know if you expect it to be a four hour or longer event so they can properly prepare.
If they?re called as an expert witness for the plaintiff as part of a pre-trial motion, and the testimony doesn?t support the plaintiff?s claims, the defense can use the deposition to get out on summary judgment and avoid a full trial. That?s why the next point is so important.
Tell the truth.
While a deposition takes place outside the courtroom, it is important to tell the truth as they know it. Your first-time deponent should be reminded that they are under oath and need to tell the truth. If not, their deposition could be used against them at trial. In cases where an attorney suspects lying, they may even opt to hire a legal videographer. A lying witness on video plays differently with a jury than simply reading a transcript.
Ask for clarification.
If the deponent is unsure of what they?re being asked, they need to know it is okay to ask for clarification. If they can answer with a simple yes or no, they should do so. If asked, ?Can you tell me what time that event took place?? Reply yes or no. It?s not that you want them to be a hostile witness, they have to answer exactly what they?re asked. As an attorney, rephrase the question to, ?What time did the event take place?? Then the witness can provide a more detailed answer.
It?s okay if you don?t know the answer.?
The discovery process is just that – a time to discover and understand what witnesses know about the event in question. Advise the deponent that, ?I don?t know,? is a perfectly acceptable answer as long as it is the truth.
Being a first-time deponent can be intimidating but with the right guidance and listening to what is asked, they can give an accurate account of events to best of their recollection.
Whether it is saving time or money, if you?re a member of legal team, it?s likely you are looking for ways to save on your next deposition. Building relationships, setting pricing while controlling costs, and creating efficiencies will go a long way to creating the successful firm you desire. It can begin simply by partnering with a court reporting firm.
Benefits of a Court Reporting Firm
As your Phoenix based court reporting firm, Herder and Associates strives to make your job easier by providing experienced nationally certified court reporters for all aspects of litigation, hearings, and arbitrations. We understand the importance of not only providing the right court reporters and conference rooms to our clients across Arizona, but we also strive for a seamless client experience. Using the latest technology, we build business relationships with you that we hope last for years.
It is the process and experience that saves our clients time and money and we?re proud to serve legal teams across the state. Don?t be afraid to ask for quotes from other firms (we promise we won?t be offended) as you will find we offer the best value for the money.
On a similar note, if you?re seeking to keep court reporting costs low for your next deposition, ask opposing counsel if they would like to also use our firm. We can house the case calendar, transcripts, exhibits, errata sheets, and invoices in the same secure repository so there aren?t duplicate charges to access the same information. This will also be more efficient and more consistent than if two court reporting firms were utilized for the same case.
Let?s face it. Arizona is a really big state making even intrastate travel costs expensive. Consider our video conferencing service rather than driving to remote locations. Not only will it potentially save you in travel costs, it can save in time as well. You can conduct depositions in Phoenix and Yuma, or anywhere around the globe, on the same day right from our state of the art video conferencing suites located ?in central Phoenix.
We like to say all you need to do is make the call to us and we can do it all. No matter where your clients are located, we have the team in place to serve you and your legal team. Contact us today to learn more.
Herder & Associates
Providing excellence in reporting throughout Arizona:
Avondale, Carefree, Casa Grande, Cave Creek, Chandler, Coolidge, Cottonwood, Flagstaff, Florence, Fountain Hills, Gilbert, Glendale, Globe, Goodyear, Lake Havasu, Litchfield Park, Mesa, Paradise Valley, Peoria, Phoenix, Prescott, Queen Creek, Scottsdale, Sedona, Sun City, Surprise, Tempe, Tucson, Wickenburg, Apache Junction, Buckeye, Maricopa, San Tan Valley