Tag: remote depositions

Remote Deposition Tips from a Court Reporter

 

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.

Making Your Remote Office a Success

With the unique challenge of working and keeping businesses going during COVID-19, having a remote office has become our new normal but it can still be an unknown, possibly even stressful, factor amid these disruptive and uncertain times.

It’s more important now than ever to keep your mental and emotional well-being in check, as well as that of your employees and staff.

SET SCHEDULES 

Keeping a regular, and realistic, schedule is vital. Plan your day as if you were in the office with a start time, lunch time and quitting time. Make sure you allow technology-free time to pamper yourself, whether that’s reading a book, working on a jigsaw puzzle or a soothing bath.

HAVE A DEDICATED WORK SPACE

You don’t need a room specifically for your home office but find space that is to be your work area during work hours. This can be a corner in your bedroom, living room or on your kitchen table. Tell your family this is your work area during your scheduled work times. After hours, it can go back to its intended use.

GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK 

Working from home doesn’t (and shouldn’t) mean parking yourself at your desk 24-7. Your mind and body need breaks throughout the day so be sure to take them, preferably every 30 to 60 minutes. It may be getting up to stretch for a few minutes or getting a glass of water. On phone calls, get in the habit of standing rather than sitting to keep that blood flowing.

BUT WATCH OUT FOR THOSE DISTRACTIONS!

Working from home can be wonderful (saving on gas and travel time with no commute and hey, you don’t even have to wear shoes!) but being at home can lend to a host of distractions. Don’t let your laundry, that Harry Potter marathon or social media impact your productivity.

STAY CONNECTED

That said, social media is a wonderful way to keep in touch, not only with family but also co-workers. The office is not only a place to work but also a method to combat loneliness and isolation. Working from home, especially for extroverts, can create anxiety. So check in with your co-workers, not just to discuss work-related matters but also fun things, like sharing recipes and family and pet photos.

AND GET FRESH AIR

Fresh air and sunshine are a necessity. With fewer people driving, and warmer weather upon most of us, getting away from your desk, out the door and into the environment is fundamental. Not only will it invigorate you but will keep your immune system healthy.

SHARPEN YOUR SKILLS

If your workload is lighter than normal, it’s the perfect time to investigate some online courses that will improve your skills, raise the value of your expertise and give you continuing education credit. As a bonus, it also takes your mind off economic worries.

DON’T FORGET YOUR EMPLOYEES

If you’re in management, it’s imperative not to neglect your employees. Understand that they might be feeling anxious, overworked and even isolated. Make yourself available to address any issues they might have. Have regular meetings by video or phone to keep everyone up to date. Let your staff know the best way to reach you with questions or emergencies. Find out if your health plan offers support for insureds who may need it and pass that information along.

 

Lastly, smile and breathe!

Handling Exhibits During a Remote Deposition

With the rise of depositions by video conferencing, a lot of attorneys may be wondering “What about the exhibits?” Just because you have exhibits doesn’t mean that you can’t take advantage of remote depositions. Here is some information on how you can conduct a remote deposition – with exhibits.

Video Conferencing – The Old Way

Remote depositions are hosted using video conference services. These services are great for sharing audio and video footage from participants in any location in a very easy and user-friendly way. In many ways it can feel like everyone is in the same room. However, the reality that each participant is many miles away become glaringly obvious the moment when you realize you want to share a document in front of you with the other participants. What can you do? You could try to email the document to the group for viewing. In our experience this creates a delay during the deposition while email addresses are confirmed, and while time is given to allow the participants to search their inboxes for the shared document. In desperate situations, we have heard of participants holding pages up to their cameras hoping that it will focus enough for the rest of the group to read. None of this makes for a smooth deposition, or a clean record. Our solution? Share documents digitally!

Digitally Sharing Exhibits

Most video conferencing services have native solutions for “screen sharing” during a video conference allowing participants to easily show their own screen to the rest of the group. This is how you can share exhibits during your deposition! To take advantage of these features, make sure that you have digital scans of all the exhibits you would like to use prior to your scheduled remote deposition. Once you’re ready to show your exhibit, use your video conference’s screen sharing feature to show all participants your document in a clear, readable form right there inside of your video conference software. When you are finished, simply disable the screen sharing feature to return to the normal video conferencing view. Using this method is easy and prevents interruptions to your proceedings.

Pro Tip: Open your document in full screen before connecting to your video conference so it will be the first thing everyone sees when you are ready to share.

Why Have Your Remote Deposition with EGCR?

All remote depositions conducted by Elizabeth Gallo Court Reporting have the above feature, and several others including:

  • Preparation of a pre-marked, digital exhibit binder for use during your deposition
  • Exhibit handling by a court reporter trained in remote depositions
  • Ability of your reporter to mark exhibits in real time should plans change with the use of digital exhibit stamps complete with a date-stamp  (compliments of our international sister company Ancillary Legal Corporation)

Interested in scheduling a Remote Deposition, but feeling a little nervous? Ask about our free client training available to those who schedule a remote deposition with Elizabeth Gallo Court Reporting.

Be sure to take advantage of our  Remote Deposition Checklist  and our video tutorial.

 

Remote Depositions: The New Normal Due To COVID-19

Remote depositions are becoming the new normal for the legal profession amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  One common concern from attorneys is can the witness be sworn in remotely.  The Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30(b)(4) and similar state rules, such as O.C.G.A. § 9-11-30(4) authorize remote depositions by stipulation of the parties or court order.

Following Governor Brian Kemp’s declaration of a state health emergency in Georgia, Justice Melton issued a statewide judicial emergency limiting court functions and suspended or otherwise granted relief from a number of statutory judicial deadlines.

Currently the order will remain in effect until April 13, 2020.  During this time, EGCR is waiving any web or videoconferencing fees as long as EGCR is not required to provide a location or equipment outside of EGCR’s facility.  Standard deposition rates will apply.

Our team is working diligently to prepare our staff and our clients for the best experience possible.  Below are some helpful links.

Schedule your deposition

View the remote deposition checklist

Upload Exhibits

We urge our clients if they run into a situation that is unique, to call or email our office so we can provide a solution.

We also have a comprehensive YouTube tutorial on web depositions, along with other tutorials.

We believe remote depositions will continue to be relevant in the future for situations relating to weather.  Georgia can shut down for a week at a time due to weather.  You no longer have to.

While, during this crisis, the EGCR and Ancillary teams are working remotely to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we are still available to answer your questions or concerns.