The practice of taking depositions via videoconference has been steadily growing for years for economic reasons, but we’ve recently seen a big upswing in attorneys choosing to almost exclusively use videoconferencing to take depositions because air travel can be so unpredictable and is ever-more time consuming. At Legal Media Experts, we’ve been providing videoconferencing services for depositions for more than a decade, so we’ve learned a thing or two about what makes for a great videoconference deposition.
We currently use Zoom to provide videoconferencing services nationwide, and we’ve come up with some “best practices” and some helpful hints for your next Zoom videoconference deposition:
• Plan to be at your desk at least 15 minutes before the scheduled start time. At that time go ahead and join the Zoom meeting even if other participants aren’t there yet. That way, if there are technical difficulties they can be resolved without causing the deposition to start late.
• Consider investing in an external USB microphone and headphones. They’re inexpensive (as low as $20 on Amazon) and will serve to minimize “room noises” that could make it difficult for other participants – and the court reporter – to clearly hear each word that’s said.
• Location, location, location! Ideally, you will join the Zoom meeting from a room in which you have a hardwired high speed internet connection. Also, avoid sitting near a bright window or in an area where loud noises can repeatedly interrupt you.
• Keep your mic on if you plan to speak – but don’t multitask. If you are typing away at your keyboard or having a snack, everyone will hear you. Sometimes one or more participants will have to mute when they’re not speaking because of audio interference. If that happens, just be sure you un-mute when you need to make an objection or comment.
• Ensure that only one person speaks at a time. That’s an evergreen best practice but it’s especially important in a videoconference deposition. Inevitably the court reporter will have to interrupt and have each person re-state what they said, which is frustrating for everyone and causes the deposition to last longer.
• Have your exhibits open on your computer, in PDF format, to easily and quickly present them to the witness. Through Zoom you can share your screen, or only selected windows, with other participants. If you have your exhibit folder already open on your desktop, with just a few clicks you can refer to a particular exhibit and never have to wonder if the witness is looking at the right document. (These exhibits should also be emailed to us at least two days prior to the deposition to ensure that the court reporter has a hard copy of them on site.)
• Even if it’s not a videotaped deposition, you could be recorded, so behave accordingly! One benefit of Zoom depositions is the ability to record the meeting right there in the app. This can be very helpful for trial prep.
Legal Media Experts’ court reporters and videographers participate in Zoom videoconference depositions nationwide on a daily basis, and our office staff is ready to help with any of your Zoom-related technical needs. Schedule your Zoom videoconference deposition today by using our online scheduling tool or calling 800-446-1387.