Five Easy Steps to Take Before Your First Remote Deposition or Court Appearance

Sarah Fitzgibbon

Sarah

Five Easy Steps to Take Before Your First Remote Deposition or Court Appearance

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With the rapid move to conducting depositions and court appearances remotely comes a sharp learning curve for those new to the technology. Conducting remote testimony does not have to be an intimidating task. Below are five easy steps you can take before your remote testimony to ensure you have a good day.

1. Can you see and hear me?

You don’t have to be a technology guru to have high quality audio and video during your deposition. Prior to your deposition, ensure that the computer or laptop you are using has both a built-in webcam and a built-in microphone. Nearly every laptop built in the last 5 years comes with both a webcam and microphone built in. Even better, purchase an external webcam and microphone. These can greatly increase the quality of your video and audio. They can be found online or in many retail stores and connect via USB to your computer. Also, try not to sit in front of a window. If you are between your camera and a bright window, the other participants are going to have a hard time seeing you.

2. Conduct a test call.

Before your deposition, you should conduct a test call with whoever is hosting the meeting. We strongly recommend a test call whether this is your first remote deposition or you’re a seasoned pro. We offer free test calls where we will walk through how to connect, test your audio and video, test screen sharing, and ensure that all proper security measures are being used. However, do not make the mistake of conducting your test call in a different location or with different equipment than you will be using when conducting the deposition. You want to run your test in the same conditions as your deposition.

3. Please, clean your room!

Before you log into your deposition, look around the space you are working in. Is there a pile of dirty laundry behind you? Did you leave your lunch dishes on a table visible by your camera? You want to present yourself as the professional that you are. Make sure your background is clean and clear of clutter. If you can, consider locking the door to where you are conducting your deposition. Children, dogs, and spouses wondering in the background are a distraction that no one needs to see during a deposition.

4. Do you swear?

In Washington, the state Supreme Court recently advised that court reporters do not need to physically be with a witness and that witnesses may be sworn in remotely. However, your local rules may be different depending on which part of the country you are in. It is a good idea to get all parties to stipulate on the record that the deposition is being held remotely and that all parties agree to have the witness sworn in remotely.

5. Please look at exhibit number…

Conducting depositions remotely brings unique concerns regarding exhibits. First, you will want to make sure the court reporter has the exhibits you intend to use in advance. If possible, name your files with the exhibit number (e.g. Exhibit 1-Witness CV.pdf). When you are ready to question the witness about a specific exhibit, simply share your screen with that exhibit displayed. It is also recommended that you provide an electronic copy of the exhibits to the witness and all parties. If you need the witness to show you where a specific item in a 100 paged exhibit is, they can then navigate the exhibit on their computer rather than having you scroll through page-by-page. If you do not want to send the exhibits beforehand, most web conferencing software will have a file sharing function. Alternatively, you can email them to the parties as you go, though that will take extra time. Finally, consider having a dedicated Prolumina technician attend the deposition. Our staff are trained on every web conferencing software and can ensure that the display of exhibits is flawless.

Remote depositions are a great tool you can use to avoid delay in your litigation. Even after life returns to normal, being able to conduct remote depositions can save you and your clients time and money. If you take a few minutes before your remote deposition to follow these five steps, you will be ensured that your remote deposition goes smoothly.