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Best Practices for Remote Depositions

Conference video call for document review

Conducting a remote deposition can feel foreign for many legal industry veterans. When your established rituals have been disrupted, it’s more important than ever to prepare in advance. If you’ve scheduled a remote deposition as a result of COVID-19 social distancing measures, First Legal is here to help you succeed! We are doing everything in our power to empower our clients and court reporters with one-on-one training on remote depositions and telephonic solutions.

Whether you’re a remote depositions expert or preparing for your first meeting, we’ve put together the following list of best practices to help you maximize your deposition:

Use Ethernet whenever possible

While Wi-Fi is convenient and simple, we recommend investing in an ethernet cable for your home office. Wireless signals can fail unexpectedly, but hard connected ethernet cables can help ensure a secure and seamless experience.

Schedule self-testing and rehearsals in advance

Avoid crosstalk and speak clearly. During rehearsals, remember to practice things like stating your name for the record before voicing objections. Small changes like this can make it significantly easier to get an accurate transcript.

Maintain professionalism

Although you may be working from home, you’re still going to be involved in a legal proceeding. Remember to treat the experience with just as much professionalism as you would bring to an in-person deposition. This includes dressing in business or business casual attire and carefully selecting your background to ensure that it isn’t distracting. Busy wallpaper or a messy kitchen can pull attention from the importance of the moment. (Don’t forget to log in at least 10 minutes early to keep things running on schedule!)

Eliminate distractions

Some distractions are inevitable when working from home, but you can do your best to minimize their occurrence. Mute your cellphone and any other unnecessary devices to prevent noise on the recording or audio feedback. If you have children or pets, try to position them in a different room with another family member or guardian.

You should also eliminate potential distractions from your computer. This can include snoozing Slack notifications, logging out of Skype, or disabling any other programs that could trigger a pop-up during your remote deposition. Consider which pop-ups you see frequently on your computer, and don’t forget about those for personal use! For example, you may even need to disable push notifications for Facebook messages or message notifications from iMessage.

Understand how to mute your video and audio feeds

If you must step away, don’t forget to turn off both audio and video prior to breaking away (your videographer can help you monitor this.) To reduce audio feedback, you should try to remain muted throughout the deposition unless you are actively speaking.

Practice using any other features you expect to rely on for your session

Using digital exhibit management for the first time? You can choose between remote management or participant management. When you choose remote exhibit management, your professional videographer will showcase exhibits as directed and ensure availability to the reporter for on-the-record marking and inclusion. You can also manage exhibits yourself by sending exhibits electronically to all parties prior to the deposition. If you choose this option, our experts will be happy to work with you, teaching you how to share, highlight, annotate and stamp documents during your session. We’ll work together until you feel comfortable.

Thoroughly prepare your witness for the remote deposition process

As the legal industry works to adapt to social distancing measures, this can leave witnesses feeling uncertain about how they can prepare. Don’t forget to include your witness in your mock deposition. Make sure the witness understands how to message you privately and how to address the room. It’s also helpful to have them practice framing their webcam and muting their microphone.

Final Thoughts

At First Legal, we are proud to offer you a diverse set of virtual deposition tools, such as conference calling, video conferencing, and online streaming. Our scheduling team will coordinate the best date and time with all parties, then our technical team will assist in connecting all parties via their personal computers.

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this article, let us know in the comments and feel free to share it on social media. If you’re preparing for your first remote deposition, please reach out to us with any questions. We’re here for you from File Thru Trial™.

If you have questions on any of our services, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us.

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