Whether you are familiar or brand new to the concept, attending remote depositions has become inevitable. As judicial orders get extended due to concerns surrounding COVID-19, in-person depositions are happening less frequently, if at all. While the conditions may not always be ideal, see below for some tips to make your remote depositions run smoothly.
BEFORE THE DEPOSITION
Training. Familiarize yourself with the program you will be using: Zoom, WebEx, GoToMeeting, et cetera. Do a quick run-through ahead of time if possible.
Send exhibits beforehand. Sending emails and downloading exhibits during the deposition takes up time. If you send exhibits before you begin, this will make things easier on your court reporter. And don’t worry about marking exhibits. Your reporter can do that for you.
Arrive early. It helps to log in to the deposition 10 to 15 minutes early for troubleshooting or to introduce yourself and share contact information.
Internet connection. Be sure to use the best internet connection available. (Hardwire into your modem if possible.)
Charge your phone. Even if you do not plan on using your phone, make sure it’s fully charged. If something malfunctions with your laptop or tablet, you will have your phone ready to connect as backup.
DURING THE DEPOSITION
Go slow. It may seem awkward to pause after questions and answers, but now more than ever it is crucial that attendees do not speak over one another during the proceedings. This creates less interruptions by the court reporter for repeats and clarifications.
Close apps. Be sure to close any programs not needed as this will help your device’s connection.
Mute yourself. If you are not actively speaking, keep yourself muted. It helps immensely with the audio quality. If you need to object or insert something on the record, unmute yourself at that time.
Audio through your phone. There is an option through remote meeting platforms to use your phone audio (dialing in and enter your meeting information) in tandem with your computer. This will maximize clear audio.
Turning off your video. If your connection gets spotty, try turning off just your video. Oftentimes, that will clear up audio issues, and you will still be present.
Headphones. Using headphones or earbuds with a microphone helps isolate deposition audio.
Be patient and open-minded. Nobody anticipated we’d be working in a global pandemic. Things may go wrong, but there’s no need to get frustrated. Take a deep breath. We’re all learning!
Background. While on video, aim to sit in front of a plain area that is lit from the side or front. When seated in front of a window, please close the blinds. Sitting in front of a bright, open window makes it difficult for attendees to see your face on screen.
Breaks! Even though most of us are comfortably seated at home, be sure to allot time for comfort breaks.
AFTER THE DEPOSITION
Don’t rush to disconnect. The court reporter will likely have questions about signature, orders, or spellings. Be sure to ask before you hop off the deposition.
Talking afterwards. Please let the court reporter know if you plan to stay in the remote meeting and speak with your client. This way the court reporter will leave the meeting instead of ending it altogether.
If you are holding remote depositions, hopefully these tips will help. Many elements that appear to be challenging just take a little time and practice. If you have questions, be sure to ask the reporter or agency hosting the deposition. Please know that court reporters appreciate you and appreciate your business!
For further information and tips, please check out Elizabeth Gallo Court Reporting’s tutorials on YouTube.