Top Locations for Your Depositions in England

By: Katelin Myers

Just like it is in the United States, depositions in the United Kingdom can be taken at any location, making it easier to schedule than some other European countries, e.g., France and Germany. However, for counsel who have never been to London, selecting a location from the seemingly endless options can be quite time consuming. To help narrow the choices, we have compiled the top locations for depositions in London:

Hotels:

  • The Grange Hotels
    • The Grange Hotels in London offer a wide variety of options conveniently located throughout the city. These locations provide modern rooms, various meeting spaces, and in-house business services, all at a reasonable price. (Room prices range from $163.00 to $356.00USD per night)
  • Crowne Plaza London – The City
    • Located right near the River Thames, this popular branch of the
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      River Thames, London

      Crowne Plaza Hotels can provide a quality stay, as well as conference rooms for your time in London. This location also has business support and services for any last-minute exhibit needs. (Room prices range from $288.00 to $379.00USD per night)

  • London Marriott Hotel County Hall
    • A U.S. chain known for its excellence and class, the Marriott is a reliable option when booking your stay overseas. A four-star hotel with conference rooms, business centers and an unbeatable view of the London Eye, Elizabeth Tower, and the Palace of Westminster! (Room prices range from $412.00 to $2,744.00USD per night)

Conference Center Locations:

  • 8 Eastcheap, London
    • For the attorney in need of a high-quality conference site, this location is for you. Eastcheap offers a variety of conference room sizes, in-house food options, and is conveniently located near several Tube stations. (Room prices will vary according to location, date, and room capacity)
  • Barbican, London
    • Another conference room selection that provides business support and over 15 meeting rooms from which to choose. They also offer in-house catering and restaurants for the time-conscious businessperson. (Room prices will vary according to location, date, and room capacity)
  • Regent Street
    • This location just down the street from Park Square West is not only a meeting room space, but also has high-quality videoconferencing capabilities as well, making it the perfect location, whether attending in person or remotely. (Room prices will vary according to location, date, and room capacity)

Planet Depos covers depositions in the United Kingdom and throughout Europe, with reporters and videographers living in the region. For more information on depositions in the U.K., or anywhere else, contact Planet Depos International Scheduling Department, at 888.433.3767 or international.scheduling@planetdepos.com.

Katelin Myers - International Scheduling Coordinator

Katelin Myers – International Scheduling Coordinator


Considerations for Depositions at the U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt

By Suzanne Quinson

As covered by previous blogs, depositions in Germany may be taken only at the U.S. Consulate General in Frankfurt, upon approval from the German Ministry of Justice. Once the depositions have been approved and successfully scheduled, there are some additional points to remember. Outlined below are important details to ensure prompt entry to the U.S. Consulate General for your depositions.

  1. The Consulate lists deposition operating hours online (currently Monday through Friday, 9 am to 4 pm). It is closed on German and American holidays, as well as the last Thursday of every month.
  2. A valid photo ID is required (passport or German Ausweis) to gain admittance to the building.
  3. All participants must submit to a bag search and pass through a metal detector.
  4. Each individual who will take an oath must bring a second valid, government-issued photo ID for the administration of oaths (this includes witnesses, court reporters, interpreters and videographers).
  5. Deposition participants should use the Consulate employee entrance (Wetzlarer Straße) rather than the main entrance (Gießener Straße).
  6. Deposition participants must notify the guard that they are there for a deposition and ask that Special Consular Services be notified of their arrival.
  7. A list of deposition participants and their electronic equipment must be submitted for Consulate approval no fewer than 3 business days prior to the deposition.
  8. No electronic equipment (with the exception of approved equipment as outlined above) is permitted in the Consulate, including cell phones.
  9. No equipment may be left in the building overnight. Therefore the reporter and videographer must be allowed ample time to set up and break down their equipment each day; keep this in mind when scheduling the deposition(s).

Germans are renowned for their efficiency, so expect the process of entering the Consulate General for depositions to be swift, so long as you remember what you need to bring and where to go! While in Frankfurt, don’t forget to visit the Main Tower to take in the stunning view of the city. There is also plenty of good shopping, food, and of course, beer to be sampled while in Frankfurt.

Planet Depos has been covering depositions in Germany and all over Europe for over a decade, with reporters and videographers living throughout the continent. For more information or to schedule, contact Planet Depos International Scheduling Department at 888.433.3767 or international.scheduling@planetdepos.com.

Suzanne Quinson - Case Manager

Suzanne Quinson – Case Manager


Why I Became A Court Reporter

This week marks NCRA’s National Court Reporting & Captioning Week, and on the 12th of February the Association inquired of its membership, “Why I Became a Court Reporter/Captioner.” Planet Depos followed suit and asked some of our court reporters why they became reporters.

Lisa Wheeler, North Carolina Reporter

I had never heard of court reporting and, while trying to figure out what I wanted to do when I grew up, was flipping through a college brochure in the guidance counselor’s office. I knew it would be business something or other because Calculus and Trig and all of those other crazy courses were not for me. I ran across a two-page spread on court reporting and thought, hmmm, I might like that. My guidance counselor said, “Oh, you don’t want to do that, the attrition rate is really high.” Not being one to back down from something tough, I said, challenge accepted. The rest is history. Can’t imagine what I’d do if I wasn’t a court reporter.

MaryJo Legg, Maryland Reporter

I was just starting my senior year in high school and had no idea what I wanted to do. I was good in Gregg shorthand and typing – though nowhere near as good as Kathy DiLorenzo. I was taking all the office courses in school, but I knew I didn’t want to be a secretary. I saw a commercial on TV for ICM School of Business in Pittsburgh advertising for court reporting students. I called them up, visited them the following week, and they were getting ready to offer what they called Saturday Special classes to introduce people to the machine. Interestingly, I remember them trying to talk me out of it, until I took a typing test, and then they were happy to sign me up.

Mayleen Ahmed, Washington State Reporter

My aunt was a court reporter. I was studying psychology in upstate NY after high school. However, in those days, I thought my aunt’s life was so luxurious compared to what I saw growing up. She would go to the Bahamas. I never saw anyone going on vacation. She always had money, it seemed. She always seemed to be home and not working. And she — God bless her — encouraged me to come to NY and attend court reporting school. I drove down eight hours from upstate NY and attended an interview at Long Island Business Institute in Commack, NY. Long story short, I went back upstate, gathered my belongings, and moved in with my grandmother and my aunt while I studied court reporting. My aunt is currently a court reporter in Tampa, Florida!

Kathy DiLorenzo, Director of Court Reporting

I don’t necessarily know why. Heck, sometimes I still wonder why. Though I do know “how” I became a court reporter. When I was in high school, I was a super-speedy typist. By the time I graduated high school, I was typing 105 words per minute. That was quite fast back in 1979. (What’s interesting is that years later, my daughter would graduate elementary school at 111 wpm.)  I competed in contests in the tri-state area — and won! So, it was my instructors who encouraged me to apply for a scholarship program offered at a local business school in Pittsburgh. I applied in the secretarial category, assuming that was the direction I was destined to go. When I spoke with the admins at the school, they asked if I might be interested in a career in court reporting, given my fast typing skills. I remember asking, “What’s that?”  Nonchalantly, I agreed, and at the same time filled out an application for the full scholarship offered in court reporting. After an aptitude test and interview, I was awarded a full scholarship for court reporting…and the rest is history.

If you or someone you know wants to join the Planet Depos court reporting team, click here.


Jean Hammond, Proofreader

By Darlene Williams

In keeping with the celebration of NCRA’s Court Reporting & Captioning Week, it seemed only fitting that we shine a light on an integral behind-the-scenes component of transcript preparation — proofreading. Jean Hammond is a proofreader living in Groveland, FL, with 20 years in the legal community as a legal secretary/assistant.

Jean, please introduce yourself to our readers and tell us a little about your background.

Hi, my name’s Jean Hammond. I’m a proofreader of transcripts for court reporters, and I live in Central Florida. My very first job out of high school turned into a 20-year run as a legal admin and assistant. After some wonderful stay-at-home-mom years and then a while as a Pilates instructor and personal assistant, I worked at my church for ten years in the Local Outreach ministry organizing and managing a food pantry, home repair and renovation teams, care packages to U.S. troops overseas and a myriad of other efforts and events all involving multiple moving parts, hundreds of volunteers, details, schedules, precision and personalities. In all of the experiences of my work and life I’ve tried to live by the motto that Excellence is in the details.

Can you please tell us what sparked your interest in becoming a proofreader? How long have you been proofreading for court reporters?

Well, I’ve always been a bit – can I say “anal”? – about words. I love good grammar and proper speech. I think word origins and idioms are interesting. Errors pop off the page at me. I’m the go-to person that people have proof their books and school papers and create their fliers and publicity materials. For several years I helped a friend edit and publish her first several books.

Life had been getting exponentially more stressful with my fulfilling (though increasingly demanding and not especially lucrative) full-time job and trying to stay on top of my family and home and not run out of hours for the “me” time I needed since I’d become a single mom. Until I stumbled across an article online about the niche field of proofreading for court reporters, I’d never imagined there was a way for me to combine my legal experience and years summarizing and proofreading depositions, my random other work experiences and my error-spotting superpower and do it all as my own boss, in my own business, from the comfort of my own home! So after a lot of researching, I found the only structured transcript proofreading training program online (Transcript Proofreading: Theory and Practice™) and learned how to be the best possible proofreader for court reporters. Eventually I left that full-time job and have recently celebrated my one-year anniversary of working solely for myself, from home, proofreading and enjoying my life in a way that I hadn’t in years.

What qualities should a reporter look for in a proofreader, and what advice do you have for reporters looking to use a proofreader for the first time?

I believe a proofreader’s job is to help a reporter look their best. We are the final eyes, the detail watchers, the difference between a “good” and “great” transcript, so the three main qualities that a (very) good proofreader needs to have boil down to:

  • Knowledge. A proofreader needs to know their stuff (meaning the official punctuation rules, spelling, formatting, a great grasp of language, familiarity with idioms, adages, legalese, etc.) and have an extreme attention to detail. I was trained and rely on Morson’s English Guide for Court Reporters and the Gregg Reference Manual with Margie Wakeman-Wells’ Court Reporting: Bad Grammar/Good Punctuation thrown in the mix for good measure. I’m happy to cite rules, suggest punctuation options, explain word choices or write in punctuation or spelling reminders on transcripts or in e-mails with my reporters.
  • Flexibility. Since the spoken word brings proofreading to a whole new level and since reporters and agencies can vary in what they want in their transcript, it can’t always or only be about rules. A good proofer is flexible and can allow for and find a balance that meets somewhere between rules and readability, preferences and consistency. Along with the rules, I proofread for clarity, correctness and consistency within each reporter’s preferences. I’m okay with a reporter who is a comma minimalist, uses or doesn’t use quotation marks, or any other style or preference. I just ensure: (a) it’s consistent throughout the transcript, (b) it allows for the easiest reading within those guidelines, and (c) it changes nothing in the meaning of the testimony.
  • Communication. A reporter should look for a proofer with great communication and is realistic and dependable in their turnaround. There’s probably nothing worse than getting the “Yeah, sorry; I didn’t get to it” message at the eleventh hour! We’ve all heard the horror stories. But a proofreader worth anything will want to protect their reporter’s work-product and stress level and will send a quick “I received your job. You’ll get it back by _____!” or “I just received your job. Unfortunately, I’m swamped/sick/moving/having fun in Vegas right now. Can I help you find a backup?”

Of course, there’s no way for a reporter to know if a proofreader has these qualities until it’s tested, so I would encourage reporters to audition proofers until they find one (and a backup!) who meets their needs. Sending a 25-page transcript with a selection of common errors will cost as little as $7-$10 but will show a proofer’s knowledge, communication, turnaround and dependability. Do yourself a favor and do it well before you actually have a job to be proofed (and don’t let on that it’s a test)! Is she reading for content or just skimming through the words? How’s her legalese? Did she catch the missing “an” or the wrong-tense ending in the sentence? The missing end-quotes, or inconsistent commas? How’s her hyphen-no hyphen and semi-colon knowledge? Did she note that the Appearances page doesn’t include the speaker on page 12? Did she see that the attorney’s name was spelled differently on the last page? Did she send it back on time (or even just a bit before)?

Also, reporters should keep in mind that a proofreader is not a scopist. While some (like me) ensure that business and other proper names, medicines and technical/industry-specific words and terms are accurate, proofers are the final eyes that double check the transcript before it’s complete and shouldn’t be relied on to make edits to a transcript.

What are the three most commonly misspelled words you see in transcripts?

For the most part, my reporters (and their scopists) do a really good job of weeding out the errors that a simple spell-check may reveal, but I do find the usual homonym and homophone troublemakers like effect/affect, on to/onto, insure/ensure, perspective/prospective.

By far, though, the most errors I see are errors of wrong tense or wrong-ending — dropping an “s” when it should read plural, “ed” instead of “ing,” “simply” instead of “simple”. This is the very reason proofreaders are needed, and as my friend the writer tells me, “That’s job security, baby!”

What are the three most common punctuation errors you find when proofreading?

This one’s easy:

(1) the comma splice that misuses a comma in joining two independent clauses (It was a dark and stormy night, the roads were wet and slippery. Nope.);

(2) NOT using a comma to join independent clauses with a coordinating conjunction (It was a dark and stormy night, and the roads were wet and slippery. Yes!); and

(3) NOT punctuating noncoordinating conjunction independent clauses correctly with a semi-colon (It was a dark and stormy night; the roads were wet and slippery. Yes!)

Can you explain the difference between using dashes and ellipses?  Perhaps provide an example of when each one would be correctly used.

Oh, good question!

Okay, the double-hyphen “em dash” (as opposed to the shorter “en dash,” which is a whole ‘nother story) creates a strong break in a sentence. It can be used – and always in pairs – like parentheses or alone to show that a speaker’s thought or sentence was broken or interrupted.  (I visualize it as an “aggressive” punctuation option; it forces its way in!) The witness who can’t complete a thought gets an em dash (So the first time – I first knew that the car was gone when I – when my wife told me.) Speakers who interrupt or talk over each other get an em dash:

Q. I’d ask that you let me finish my ques- —

A. Uh-huh. Sure.

Q.– -tion before you start your answer, Mr. Smith, and I’ll —

A. Sure.

Q. afford you the same courtesy.

Ellipses are used to denote missing words, but in a different way. Words or phrases omitted from quoted text (Sir, do you see where Paragraph B states, “The parties . . . will hold each other harmless”?), or at the end of a line when a speaker either just trails off or somehow has no more words to finish his sentence (It was so long ago that I don’t . . .).

The difference is really in the speaker’s intonation or the other speaker’s actions, and it’s almost impossible for a proofreader to know whether the speaker just trailed off or the other speaker actually “stepped on his line” (to use an old acting idiom). Generally, the amount of time between speaker 1 and speaker 2 is the deciding factor, and that’s up to the reporter to record. To make things even harder, some people have a habit of using a hard, throw-away “so” to end their sentences (I don’t know how fast I was going, so.), while other people may use it in a more questioning or drawn out/trailing away way (I don’t know how fast I was going, so . . .) and it really is left to the reporter to either differentiate or choose one and be consistent. (Have I said before that a reporter’s job is crazy hard?)

Where do you stand on quotation marks/not quotation marks?

I stand wherever my reporter stands, but I’ll be honest. As a reader, text is just harder without quotation marks. I often have to reread or at the very least slow down and revise on-the-fly my understanding of an awkward sentence when quotation marks aren’t there to give me cues. It’s taken some getting used to, but even the more recent adaption of comma-capping quotations is an easier read and, to me, allows for more clarity although it, too, has its issues. For example, She came over and said, Are you hurt? is quite understandable, but She came over and said, Are you hurt? I just wanted to hit her . . . not so much now, right? (See what I did with the ellipses? Casual, non-legal writing lets me use it as a pause for effect.)

What software do you use to proofread, and what should a reporter expect to receive when you have completed proofreading?

I proofread documents in PDF format using iAnnotate software on an iPad.  iAnnotate allows me to make annotations exactly where they’re needed, directly onto the PDF pages, mostly using a yellow highlighter and with corrections, additions and questions typed in red, like this:

snip10

snip7

snip17

Proofing via PDF is so much quicker than an errata sheet! And it ensures my eyes never leave the transcript page. When I’m done, iAnnotate allows me the option of e-mailing back only the annotated pages, saving the reporter from going page-by-page to search for (and potentially miss) my corrections. Comparison and corrections can be made, literally, in minutes.

How many pages do you typically read in a day/week?

My total monthly pages now average at just over 5,100, so that means about 1,175 pages per week. That seems like a lot, but I can read 100 pages of pretty “clean” (not excessively needing corrections) and standard transcripts in about an hour and 75-85 pages per hour for the tougher, not-very-clean (i.e., not ready to be proofread) jobs, or expert or technical transcripts that require me to start and stop a lot, or for word-dense narratives or hearings.

What are your other interests when you’re not reading transcripts?

When I’m not reading transcripts, I enjoy spreading my creative wings and planning parties, fundraisers and other events for friends and acquaintances. I’m also on the board of directors of Unforsaken Ministries, a local nonprofit that provides support to single moms and widows in my area and which fully funds a school of about 100 students in Morriseau, Haiti. In addition to that, I’m the mom of two busy teenagers, and I enjoy meeting friends for coffee dates or lunch and shopping. With my ability to literally proofread anywhere, I’m looking forward this year to a return to a log cabin in Gatlinburg and a visit in the fall with my best friend in Upstate New York.

Are you taking on any new clients at this time? What is the best way for reporters to contact you?

Yes, I am. I look forward to connecting with reporters who need a (or need a new) proofreader. You can check out my website at jeanhammondproofreading.com for more information about my rates and services, as well as a few testimonials of some current reporters. I am also happy to be contacted directly by e-mail at jhammondproofreading@gmail.com.

Jean Hammond - Proofreader

Jean Hammond – Proofreader

Darlene Williams - Professional Development Specialist - Court Reporting

Darlene Williams – Professional Development Specialist – Court Reporting


Court Reporter Mentoring – Back to the Future

By Kathy DiLorenzo

In February of 2016, in conjunction with NCRA’s Court Reporting & Captioning Week, Planet Depos announced the launch of Planet Institute, a program developed to bridge the gap between student and career.

Some of our “senior” generation of reporters may remember the training they received in court reporting school, but no doubt each of us can remember well the single person who trained and mentored us, who influenced us to be the reporter we are today. In most cases, it was a firm owner who took us under their wing, allowed us to shadow, read through every transcript we produced for upwards of a year’s time, and who instilled in us a commitment to excellence in our profession. What encompassed that “commitment to excellence”?

  • Continuous speed development
  • Insatiable passion for learning
  • Thorough research
  • Proper formatting, punctuation, and legal procedures
  • Dependability
  • Flexibility
  • Can-do attitude
  • Certification
  • Continuing Education
  • Professionalism
  • Adherence to our Code of Ethics
  • Giving back

Just after the launch of Planet Institute, I was interviewed by Ari Kaplan on his program called “Reinventing Professional Services.” About Planet Institute, he asked, “Why?”

There are three particular movements that we have witnessed over the years that have dramatically changed the way students are educated and enter the workforce.

  1. The vast majority of students are learning court reporting online.
  2. Court reporters who would have served as mentors in the past are now working from their home office and, as such, opportunities for mentoring, coaching and professional guidance are often nonexistent.
  3. Unlike years gone by, new graduates are not working for a single local firm which impacts the agency’s desire to commit to onboarding fledgling reporters.

With these three factors in play, who is it then who takes on the nurturing and leadership role in laying a solid foundation to a successful career in court reporting? While there are individual court reporters and firm owners who understand the value of paying it forward and mentoring new reporters, there are simply not enough options for the next generation to be intensely and appropriately trained and mentored. Planet Institute is Planet Depos’ contribution to this effort.

As an international court reporting firm, Planet Depos is uniquely positioned to assess the broad spectrum of talent that exists within our profession, particularly within the profession’s newest entrants, as well as the general weaknesses related to writing skills, general knowledge, ethical considerations and overall professionalism. To that end, we created the position of Professional Development Specialist – a full-time employee dedicated to providing one-on-one professional development for new reporters.

Although there is no cost to enroll in Planet Institute, we realized at the outset that there needed to be minimum requirements to enter the program. Anything less would render the program meaningless and provide little incentive for students to “make it” into the program. In order to apply, the student must:

  • Be in final speeds or have graduated within the past six months
  • Complete an online application
  • Provide a letter of reference from an instructor or working reporter
  • Be proficient with CAT system
  • Pass a 30-minute writing evaluation*
  • Pass entrance exams (spelling, vocabulary, error-spotting)
  • Undergo a personal interview

* Candidate is given five hours to write and produce a transcript of a 30-minute videotaped deposition, with full use of audio/video.

Once a student is accepted into the program, they are assigned shadowing opportunities with seasoned reporters in their area. Each of these reporters has an established professional relationship with Planet Depos and can be relied upon to provide guidance in all aspects of reporting. In working with several experienced reporters, the student is exposed to the various styles of interacting with clients, how the everyday is handled in terms of readback, exhibit handling, interruptions, as well as a peek at what their future might hold if they embrace realtime technology and enhanced skill development.

For each shadowing assignment, the student prepares no fewer than 50 pages for in-depth review, a verbatim evaluation comparing the transcript against the audio. This review will reveal weaknesses, if any, in the following areas:

  • Word knowledge
  • Research skills
  • Punctuation
  • Transcript formatting

The ultimate goal with each student is to get them to “fly solo.” Do they understand the importance of their role? Do they understand their ethical obligations? Do they understand that if something doesn’t sound right, it probably isn’t right? Do they question words, phrases, terminology that they aren’t absolutely certain they know the meaning of? Are they their toughest critic? Do they ask questions? Do they improve with each transcript?

If we can answer “yes” to each of these questions, the student has then completed the program. At this point we provide advice on how and where to market their services. Several of the Planet Institute graduates are now working as independent contractors for various firms. Some have since passed their CSR, while others are still working toward that goal. Two of the Planet Institute graduates waiting to pass the CSR chose to relocate to begin their career until they were successful in passing the exam. It’s all about students taking advantage of the opportunities whenever and wherever they are.

Planet Depos is proud to announce at the end of one year that all students who were accepted into the program have either completed and are working court reporters or are still enrolled in the program awaiting state certification. Upon successful completion of the program, the student is awarded their first year of professional dues to NCRA, compliments of Planet Depos. Meet three successful graduates of Planet Institute.

Planet Depos acknowledges that we could not offer this program without the support of dedicated court reporters who have so willingly agreed to allow these students to sit in, observe and learn from their years of experience. We extend our sincere appreciation to the following mentors:

 

Wendy Andino, CSR, RMR
Maria Beesley, CSR
Judy Bellinger, CSR, RPR, CRR
Kathy Ferguson, CSR
Carrie Hewerdine, CSR, RDR
Theresa Hollister
Kari Hruneni
Cynthia Jyu, CSR
Michelle Knowles, CSR, RPR, CRR
Danielle Krautkramer
Carol Lowe
Alda Mandell, RPR, CRR
Katherine Stride, CSR, RPR
Ashley Soevyn, CSR
Anne Torreano, CSR, RPR
Ashala Tylor, CSR, RPR, CRR
Kim Whitmire, CSR
Cindy Whyte

 

Read related press release here.

Kathy DiLorenzo - Director of Court Reporting

Kathy DiLorenzo – Director of Court Reporting


Six Tips for Taking Depositions in India

By Suzanne Quinson

Certain countries have a few extra or different steps when it comes to scheduling depositions. Depositions in Germany can be taken only at the U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt, for example, while Honduras requires a letter rogatory requesting judicial assistance from the Honduran courts when taking a voluntary deposition of a non-U.S. citizen. India presents its own challenges for those planning depositions here if the witness is Indian or a Third Country National residing in India. Below are some steps to keep the planning and scheduling process streamlined and stress free!

  1. Prior permission of the Indian Central Authority for The Hague Evidence Convention is not required to depose U.S. citizens, but is required to depose Indian and Third  Country Nationals.
  2. A local court order will be needed to depose a non-U.S citizen, as a U.S. subpoena is not binding in India. Contact local counsel to assist in obtaining the order.
  3. India requires a visa for any U.S. citizens entering the country, and the process takes up to 3 weeks typically (through Cox & Kings Global Services).
  4. Recently, India made available the electronic tourist visa (eTV) option for visitors on casual business who will be in India for 30 days or fewer.
  5. The witness may need to be sworn in twice! A commissioner may be needed to satisfy Indian legal requirements and the court reporter/notary to satisfy U.S. legal requirements.
  6. Make sure to verify the technological capabilities of your hotel and/or the conference room location for the deposition – not all hotels in India offer stable internet.

India is a vivacious and exciting country to visit, even briefly for depositions. English is widely spoken, though it is wise to familiarize yourself with a few commonly used phrases in the local dialect. The cuisine is a spicy experience; be adventurous and enjoy! Major credit cards are widely accepted, but you may want to pick up some rupees as well. Just be sure to exchange at authorized dealers and get a receipt so you can convert leftover currency back before departure from India. Also be mindful that rupee notes printed before 2005 are no longer valid; check your notes for the date. Haggling is expected in nearly all transactions, so tap into your dramatic side and have at it.

Planet Depos covers depositions in India and throughout Asia, with reporters and videographers living in the region. For more information on depositions in India, or anywhere else, contact Planet Depos International Scheduling Department, at 888.433.3767 or international.scheduling@planetdepos.com.

Suzanne Quinson - Case Manager

Suzanne Quinson – Case Manager


Five Crucial Considerations for Your Videoconference Deposition

By Suzanne Quinson

A videoconference deposition is a great cost saver for deposing a witness overseas, or even a few states away. Once you’ve determined that it’s in your (and your client’s) best interest to attend the deposition remotely, here are some make-or-break details to consider before conducting the deposition. Leaving one of these aspects to the last minute could be disastrous.

  1. Conduct a test call! You need to check the stability of the internet signal. Poor audio quality is a hindrance to both you and the court reporter. A test call is absolutely essential for a successful deposition by videoconference.
  2. Will the witness require an interpreter? If so, the court reporter should be present with both the witness and interpreter, to ensure a clear, accurate record.
  3. Will the deposition be videotaped? If so, for quality purposes, the videographer should be with the witness. Remember, choosing to conduct a deposition by videoconference is not the same as having it videotaped.
  4. How will the oath be administered to the witness? If the reporter is not with the witness, a stipulation may need to be made on the record regarding the reporter’s ability to swear in the witness. Make sure all counsel are in agreement regarding the administration of the oath before everyone dials into the deposition.
  5. Remember any applicable time differences! Be sure to communicate clearly with both sites (or with the reporting agency reserving either or both locations for you) so conference rooms are booked for the correct date and time! This seems like a no-brainer, but… be overly cautious.

With proper preparation and planning, a videoconference deposition is convenient, cost-efficient, and as simple as taking the deposition in person. Just be sure to cover all the details mentioned and communicate any special considerations to the reporter and/or videographer.

Suzanne Quinson - Case Manager

Suzanne Quinson – Case Manager


From Airport to Hotel: Traveling Abroad

By Neal Price

What a flight! You’re standing in baggage claim after having been squeezed in an airplane seat, herded like cattle through strange airports, and asked 100 odd questions from security guards for the last 24+ hours. Through a curious turn of events, what was supposed to be a rather easy flight from the U.S. traveling west to your Asia-Pacific destination, you have just endured flight delays and cancellations that re-routed your flight through London, on to Bangkok, and ultimately to your destination. You’ve been left stressed and beyond exhausted as you watch and wait somewhat patiently for your baggage to finally show up on the conveyor belt.

Once you have all of your bags and have triple-checked that you’re not missing anything, you start heading toward an exit to begin the final leg of your journey – from the airport to the hotel. You find yourself standing in a taxi queue waiting on the next available vehicle. Your driver seems nice enough as he loads your luggage into the trunk. You plop into the back seat of the cab and tell the driver the name of the hotel where you’re staying. All you get back from him is a blank stare through the rear-view mirror. You repeat the name of the hotel, but still no sign of recognition. The dreaded language barrier! You scramble through your bag looking for the hotel reservation that your assistant dutifully printed out for you. You hand the reservation to the driver, but you can tell he has no idea where the hotel is located. After saying something in his language, he hops out of the car with the printout and runs over to a fellow cab driver to ask for directions. After a few minutes of arms waving, loud talking, and some chuckles, the driver finally gets behind the wheel and speeds off to what you hope is your hotel.

Any delay getting to your hotel is the last thing you need after a harrowing trip to the other side of the globe. So what went wrong and how could it all have been avoided? Are there any options other than catching a random taxi outside of an airport?

Failure to Plan – With all international travel, it’s crucial that you do your homework before leaving your hometown. You need to know about visa requirements, travel alerts, hotels, how you’re going to get from your hotel to your deposition or meeting, what you’re going to eat, what you’re going to wear, etc. In all of your planning, don’t forget to plan for how you’ll get from the airport to your hotel, which is very easy to forget!

Options for Getting from Point A to Point B – The good thing about flying into a large metropolis with an international airport is that there are multiple ways for you to get from the airport to your hotel. With a little digging, you can find several options from which to choose.

  1. Hired Car Service – Most large hotel chains have an outstanding concierge service that can arrange for a private car to pick you up from the hotel and transport you in a comfortable vehicle. Usually, this service can be pre-paid with a credit card or added to your hotel bill. You’ll just need to let them know your flight information, and they’ll be at the airport to carry your weary self to the front door of the hotel. Just don’t get too comfortable, or you’ll not want to get out of the car!
  2. Arranged Taxi Service – If the private car service is a little out of your price range, you can easily have the concierge arrange for a taxi to pick you up. The vehicle won’t be as comfy, but you’ll still be able to rest assured that someone will be at the airport to help you and get you where you’re going.
  3. Limousine Bus – Yet another option would be to inquire about a limousine bus, or shuttle, that runs on a routine route from the airport to the hotel. This might take a little longer as there may be stops along the way at other hotels, but the price is reasonable, and you’re still assured that you’ll arrive at the right place. Just pay attention to the driver’s instructions and don’t miss your stop, or you’ll end up back at the airport!

Don’t let the opening scenario be your story. Make sure to ask your court reporting firm that has assisted with setting up the depositions about transportation options from the airport to the hotel. With years of experience under their belt, they’ll be able to help you avoid mishaps that could leave you both frustrated and stranded.

The International Scheduling team at Planet Depos has assisted numerous clients with transportation needs, as well as printing, shredding, providing vetted interpreters, and the best in court reporting around the world for decades. Just let them know what you need, and they’ll get to work making sure your entire trip is as stress-free as possible. Call us at 888.433.3767 or email International.scheduling@planetdepos.com.

Neal-Price - International Scheduling Manager

Neal Price – International Scheduling Manager


Impacting the Jury with Multimedia Depositions

By Jeremy Dineen

With improving technology, it’s becoming more and more common for attorneys to display their exhibits on a projector at trial so that the jury can see and better absorb the testimony that accompanies each exhibit.  But when playing back a videotaped deposition at trial, too many attorneys are still treating exhibits the old-fashioned way — discussing the exhibits without showing them to the jury.

blog-picture-600x338Multimedia Depositions enable the mixing of documents, other evidence, and/or demonstratives directly into the video record at the time of the deposition.  A monitor is set up for the witness so that he or she can view the exhibits at the deposition.  The final product includes the exhibit displayed full screen, along with a picture-in-picture of the witness in the bottom corner.  This perspective enables the jury to see the witness’s reaction to an exhibit as they’re reviewing it.

A recent deposition that we covered in New York City illustrates the impact of this technology.  The deposition would – in the client’s estimation – make or break his case.  The issue at hand was whether or not the witness’s signature had been forged on certain contracts.  The client had reached out a week prior to the deposition to discuss the situation, and we agreed the most useful solution would be to set it up as a multimedia deposition.

Counsel instructed the witness to place his signature on a piece of paper at the deposition, which was then scanned with a portable document scanner, then displayed side by side with the contract.  On playback, the jury could compare the signatures while the witness testified on review of each contract that the signature was not his.

While this technology may not be useful for every deposition, use of multimedia depositions are certainly a very powerful tool in the right scenario.  For more information, reach out to Planet Depos at info@planetdepos.com or call us at 888.433.3767, and we’ll be more than happy to answer your questions or set you up with a demo.

Jeremy Dineen - Video & Trial Services Manager

Jeremy Dineen – Video & Trial Services Manager


Five Essential Websites for International Travel

By Suzanne Quinson

5 Essential Websites for International TravelPreparing for international travel can be intimidating.  This need not be, however, with proper organization and accurate information.  Read on to discover five websites with the information you need to know before booking your flight and hotel!

  1. The State Department – Here you can check on:
    1. Visa Requirements
    2. Passport requirements
    3. Travel Alerts and Warnings
    4. Useful information about your destination, i.e., safety considerations, cultural information, etc.
    5. Local S. Embassy information
    6. Enrollment in STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program)
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention –Information regarding:
    1. Required and/or recommended pre-travel vaccinations
    2. Eating/drinking considerations for your destination
    3. Travel health notices
  3. World Travel Guide – Useful to look up:
    1. Climate/seasonal information
    2. Touristy tips – restaurants, shopping, events and the like
  4. OANDA – Currency conversion
  5. Planet Depos – Here you can find:
    1. Court reporting, videography, interpretation services, wherever your depositions take you
    2. Useful travel information
    3. The International Deposition Guide
    4. The International Scheduling Team

For more specific information or assistance, please contact Planet Depos International Scheduling at 888.433.3767 or international.scheduling@planetdepos.com.

Suzanne Quinson - Case Manager

Suzanne Quinson – Case Manager