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Blog Category: Court Reporting

Big Cases Demand Big Case Management Talent

Big Cases Demand Big Case Management Talent

Big cases demand big talent. Multi-party, MDL, IP, Big Pharma, Construction Defect, you name it, these are the high-stake cases demanding top talent and experience. These litigation giants require coordinating multiple calendars, managing a massive number of exhibits, and sometimes traveling thousands of miles for international depositions. Lengthy litigation matters such as these require case management from start to finish. In the hands of an experienced court reporting case manager, no matter how many moving parts need to be juggled, the coordination is seamless. The goal of the expert case manager is to manage every detail for you, keep it moving forward, and meet those deadlines, without any reminders, so you have what you need when you need it.

Case managers ask the right questions to understand your needs, ensuring consistency throughout the life of your case. They ensure professionals with subject-matter expertise are assigned and provide clean and usable rough drafts and accurate finals with no disappointment. They make sure Protective Orders are signed and followed, exhibit-marking protocols are adhered to, standing orders are established and delivered, and deadlines are met. The Case-Specific Standing Order Form establishes your expectations and eliminates the need to repeat your order for every deposition. It includes identifying the types of transcript and video files you need, when you need them, and who should receive them. It also is where you request same-day rough drafts, the number of realtime connections, and whether any loaner devices will be needed.

You should expect your dedicated case management team to be online and available to you 24/7, whether that means delivering your same-day rush for your multi-track depos in Japan, getting an exhibit or video to you at 4:00 a.m., or confirming how source code exhibits should be handled. The case manager ensures clear communication with you and your team and will use all the latest tools to streamline the process and make you as productive as possible.

Your experienced Case Manager understands that standing orders sometimes change for a variety of reasons.  When that happens, alert the Case Manager so that appropriate adjustments can be made. Remember, the Case Manager is here to handle all the heavy lifting, leaving you to free to devote your attention to the demands of your case.

Planet Depos has been providing concierge case management for over ten years. By relying on the Case Management Team at Planet Depos, you can rest easy knowing that we’ve got you covered from start to finish. To schedule your upcoming depositions, contact Planet Depos at 888.433.3767 or schedule online.

Believe your Ears with these Audio Tips

Believe your Ears with these Audio Tips

Don’t spend your remote deposition fiddling with volume, wondering if you’re hearing correctly, asking other parties to repeat themselves. Remote depositions are now commonplace but still not without their challenges! Excellent audio is essential to the remote deposition, but it can be a trial getting there! If that has been the case for you, try these tips to experience strong audio in your next remote deposition.

Use wired internet. Wired (ethernet cable) internet will provide the strongest connection, so there are no lags or buffering or disconnects. Simply connect the cable directly from your computer into the wireless router and disable wireless on your computer to achieve the wired connection. Essentially you want to be the only one on your network, so everything “internety” is focused on you and your successful remote deposition.

Speed up the connection! I still remember dial-up internet and the agony it was waiting to connect. Internet has come a long way since those days! Make sure yours is up to speed, at least 3-5 Mbps for videoconference. Check your internet speed at https://fast.com/.

Use a standalone phone for best audio. If you notice audio issues during the meeting, dial into the meeting from a standalone phone and disable the videoconferencing audio to avoid feedback.

Choose a quiet room – this is imperative. It’s easy to keep the noise down in an office setting – well, usually. If someone is participating from home, however, it can be trickier to achieve peace and quiet for a videoconference meeting. If you don’t have an office set up at home, just choose a room with a door, as far removed from communal spaces as possible.

Try a noise-canceling app, like Krisp, which eliminates all acoustic noise and echoes that could interfere with the proceeding. Krisp actually blocks background noises on both ends of the call, making it easier for all parties to hear and understand each other. This means fewer interruptions to clarify or ask someone to repeat what they just said.

Test before the deposition. This is vital to ensure there are no lags in the audio (or video). This is your chance to give your microphone, speakers, headset (if applicable), and room a trial before the actual remote deposition. You can also ask the technician any questions you may have and receive the benefit of their expertise even before the deposition.

Before you log in to the remote deposition (early!), reboot your computer. Rebooting will help clear out any temporary files. Make sure to close any applications that aren’t necessary for the deposition as well. You and your device need to be 100% zeroed in on the virtual deposition.

Planet Depos has been covering depositions worldwide for over a decade. Wherever depositions are legal, Planet Depos has reporters, videographers, and interpreters on the ground or nearby to cover your depositions, in-person, remote, or hybrid! For more information or to schedule your next proceeding, contact Planet Depos at scheduling@planetdepos.com. You can also schedule online.

 

Remote Depositions: 2-Years Later – What to Expect from Planet Depos

Remote Depositions: 2-Years Later – What to Expect from Planet Depos

Remote depositions are not new; however, it has been a full two years since the great remote explosion of 2020. In March of 2020, Planet Depos adjusted, expanded, and streamlined our remote services to keep your depositions on the calendar. Even though your deposition or hearing is conducted via a videoconferencing platform, such as Zoom or WebEx, these recordings are not admissible in court. You will need not only a court reporter, but a videographer to record the proceeding. To make the remote deposition run smoothly, you should also schedule a remote technician, who will handle technical issues that may arise, displaying and marking exhibits, as well as sharing them on screen. Here is what to expect from the remote court reporter, technician, and videographer in your next remote deposition.

Planet Depos has a quick YouTube video on how we handle remote depositions for both Zoom and WebEx.

Remote Court Reporter:

The remote court reporter takes down on a stenograph machine (stenographer) or records the audio portion of the proceeding using state-of-the-art software (digital court reporter) the same way they would at an in-person deposition. The court reporter ensures that all participants are heard clearly and that an accurate record is captured. Like an in-person court reporter, the remote reporter can read back or play back parts of a proceeding. The remote court reporter is trained to listen to everything said during the proceeding. They will interject if the deponent, for example, isn’t heard clearly and will ask for them to repeat their answer. This highlights the need for each participant to test their connection and audio, etc., with the technician before the remote deposition, so the remote court reporter can hear and accurately take down the record. A certified transcript is put together and provided upon request.

Remote Technician:

The remote technician has several functions during the remote deposition, all of which tie together to allow attorneys to concentrate on taking the deposition. The technician can handle technical issues that may arise using Zoom or WebEx, such as getting a participant’s audio and video to work. The technician will quickly and seamlessly pull up exhibits, mark them and share with all participates onscreen. They will listen to cues from the attorney to scroll, annotate, zoom in or out or even pass remote control to the attorney or witness. The technician can set up and manage breakout rooms which can be used for private discussions or as waiting rooms as needed.

Remote Videographer:

Similar to the way a videographer records the official proceedings in person, when done remotely through Zoom, for example, you can have the proceedings recorded for presentation at trial. Note that to be presented at trial, the videorecording of the remote deposition must be recorded by a videographer. When done in a videoconference, the videographer will ‘pin’ the deponent to the full screen and add the official date and timestamp. By default, when exhibits are shared, the videographer’s recording will show just the deponent. If requested in advance, the videographer can show the deponent in a small window in the corner along with the exhibits in a picture-in-picture view. In addition, upon request, video can be synced with the transcript allowing you to click anywhere in the video or transcript to watch that portion. For a brief overview of the differences between the recording of a mobile videoconference versus an official videographer recording, you can watch our YouTube video.

Do you have a remote proceeding coming up? All remote attendees can and should schedule a remote test session with Tech Support prior to your scheduled session. Simply e-mail Tech Support or your Planet Depos account executive to set up a date and time. You may have done a demo when remote became the thing in Spring 2020, but two years is a long time in the technology world, and a refresher demonstration is highly recommended. Make sure you are up to date for your next remote deposition! Tech support will make sure you can join and be seen and heard at the depo as well as answer any questions of what to expect during the remote session. We also recommend that you join 30 minutes prior to the scheduled start of your actual deposition or hearing to allow troubleshooting time in the event you run into an unsuspected technical issue.

Reach out to us at scheduling@planetdepos.com or 888-433-3767 to schedule your remote deposition or hearing with Planet Depos.

Update on Depositions in Japan

Update on Depositions in Japan

Depositions may now be taken remotely in Japan! Scheduling depositions in Japan is a very detailed and streamlined process. More than any other country, Japan requires strict adherence to specific scheduling protocol. Since the beginning of Covid-19 depositions in Japan have come to a complete halt. The requirement that depositions take place at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo or U.S. Consulate in Osaka, neither of which have permitted remote depositions has effectively banned depositions since the world went remote. After nearly two years of indefinite pause, however, taking depositions in Japan is once again becoming possible.

To those in the international deposition world, Japan is known for banning all depositions via videoconference or telephone. While other countries relaxed these rules in light of Covid-19, Japan held fast. Per the U.S. Embassy’s website, however, remote depositions of witnesses in Japan are now “available on an extremely limited basic and subject to prior approval of the Japanese authorities.” An excerpt from the approval process for remote depositions in Japan can be found below:

If you are a party, or counsel to a party, to litigation, flexible with your timing, are prepared to secure a court order for a deposition, and can provide the information below at a minimum to obtain Japanese government approval, then please contact tokyoacs@state.gov.  Please provide the following information when writing to tokyoacs@state.gov.  Incomplete requests will not be considered.

  • Name(s) of parties to the litigation
  • Briefly, what the litigation concerns
  • Type of case (civil, criminal)
  • Which court it’s in
  • Preferred dates for the video deposition
  • Date of trial
  • Name(s) of witness(es) to be deposed
  • Connection of witness(es) to the litigation
  • Parties present in the U.S. (names, positions, location in the U.S.)
  • Parties present in Japan (apart from the witness(es), provide names and positions)

U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Japan

Strict requirements remain even when a deposition is approved – in-person participants must be kept to a minimum (a witness, one attorney, and the videographer) while all other participants may appear remotely. Fortunately, Planet Depos is the only court reporting agency with staff on the ground in both Tokyo and Osaka. We also work with countless talented interpreters with deposition experience, and all topics of case matters, including and even especially highly intricate and confidential IP matters in Japan. Once your deposition is arranged with the Embassy or Consulate you can rest easy knowing that a world-class team will be with you in-person and remotely to handle your deposition.

Planet Depos is the indisputable leader of court reporting in Japan. Our reporter and videographer live right next door to the Embassy in Tokyo! This positioning has provided an “insider’s” view as it were, enabling the Japan version of last-minute scheduling. The process for scheduling depositions in Japan typically takes roughly six weeks, so there is no such thing as truly last-minute depositions. The on-the-ground reporting team in Tokyo has working relationships with local vendors and can assist with any ancillary services required for your depositions in Japan.

Planet Depos has been covering international depositions for over a decade, even through the recent pandemic. Planet Depos court reporters, videographers, and interpreters all around the globe are ready to cover your next proceeding taking place abroad. For more information or to schedule, contact international@planetdepos.com, or schedule your international deposition online.

Diamond in the Rough – Tips to Receive a Polished Rough Draft, Part Two

Diamond in the Rough – Tips to Receive a Polished Rough Draft, Part Two

We have been examining what attorneys and their teams can do to receive a helpful rough draft, focusing on the steps you can take prior to the deposition. The importance of preparation cannot be overstated when it comes to court reporters providing a quality rough draft. So, you’ve sent them prep materials, provided spellings, tested your audio with the technician, and logged in early. Now you are taking the deposition, and the reporter is taking down the record, and you are confident you will receive a clean rough after the deposition concludes. And you will! Keep these tips in mind during the deposition to keep your rough draft on track.

Make your admonitions. Remind the witness that a deposition is not a conversation, and to avoid slipping into conversational speech. Remind them not to anticipate your question but to let you finish your question before they answer. Remind them to give verbal responses. Ask them to spell their name on the record. Remind them (and yourself) to speak up, speak clearly and slowly, for the benefit of the court reporter and an accurate record.

Make use of your technician in remote depositions. The technician, among other duties, shares and marks exhibits in remote depositions. Even if all the attorneys present have copies of the exhibits, have the tech display them for the reporter’s benefit, so the reporter is not double-tasking, trying to pull the exhibits from the chat while simultaneously taking down an accurate record.

Check in with the reporter on breaks. If you know you speak quickly or quietly or that the matter at hand is packed with tongue-twisting terminology, at a break, ask the reporter if they’re ok. Court reporters have seen and heard it all, but they are human and may need you to slow down, or speak up, or provide them with the spelling of a name or term. Court reporter of 33 years Stephanie Battaglia noted that if you think you’re going too fast, you probably are, so just double check with the reporter at the first and subsequent breaks.

Mind your manners and let each other speak in the deposition. There is no other way to say it. Try to not speak over each other. Lori points out that it isn’t even a matter of not getting down what is said, but that people are not saying their complete thought, for being talked over or interrupted. And it will be frustrating to read a rough and final filled with dashes because participants weren’t letting each other finish their sentences. Cassidy reiterated the importance of parties finishing their sentences, suggesting the taking attorney repeat on an as-needed basis the admonitions given at the start of the deposition. Witnesses often need to be reminded to let attorneys finish the question, give verbal responses, and the like. This not only translates to a clean, complete rough, but fewer interruptions by the reporter seeking clarification when there is crosstalk.

If an interpreter was scheduled for the deposition, use their talent to get the best rough draft. Often a deponent may speak excellent English even if it isn’t their first language. However, even if they are fluently bilingual, words may come up that don’t directly translate, or they may have a beautiful accent which isn’t so easy to understand, especially in a remote setting. If you took the time to reserve a professional interpreter, let them help you, the deponent, and the court reporter make a clear record.

The court reporter is hard at work even on breaks. Pleasantries and small talk are always nice, but your reporter is more than likely working hard to get you a clean usable rough draft as quickly as possible. This means utilizing precious minutes to hone the rough draft so they don’t scramble at the end of the deposition. They typically work through breaks in the deposition, checking spellings, cleaning up messy spots and the like.

No, the rough draft is not without imperfections. It is a rough draft, after all, not the certified final. However, conscientious court reporters pride themselves on providing a quality rough draft. They recognize the rough’s value, for which attorneys pay a premium, so they deliver the best possible rough whatever the circumstances. Optimize those circumstances with these tips and see for yourself what a diamond your uncertified rough draft can be at the hands of a sophisticated court reporter!

Planet Depos has been covering depositions for over a decade, and our court reporters have centuries of experience combined. For more expert tips, check out the PD Blog Page. To schedule your next proceeding, contact Planet Depos at scheduling@planetdepos.com, or schedule online.

 

Diamond in the Rough: Tips to Receive a Polished Rough Draft, Part One

Diamond in the Rough: Tips to Receive a Polished Rough Draft, Part One

Rough drafts are such an added value to attorneys, especially in fast-moving litigation. The uncertified rough draft, ideally delivered by the court reporter within hours of the proceedings, is the “unofficial” transcript provided before the final transcript is ready. These unofficial transcripts are useful to prepare for future depositions in the case, determine if additional documents are needed, and much, much more. The better the quality of the rough, the more helpful it is. What can attorneys and their teams do to receive the best possible rough draft? We asked a few of our own powerhouse court reporters for their insight, and it turns out, there are a few things that make a big difference in the quality of the rough draft. In fact, there are enough thoughtful tips from our reporters that you’ll have to check back next week for more! This week let’s look at what you can do before the deposition to position the reporter to provide a sparkling rough draft.

Request a rough draft when you schedule the deposition. Court reporter of two years Court Petros confirms the most helpful thing an attorney can do when ordering a rough is to make the rough draft request in advance. This allows the scheduling coordinator to reserve a reporter who has the flexibility to provide the rough in the timeframe requested. Equally important, advance notice enables the court reporter to head into the deposition knowing they need a rough ready by x. The reporter will then prepare accordingly – rough drafts do require extra preparation.

Help your court reporter build a dictionary. Court reporters take down the record with speed and amazing apparent ease. One tool helping reporters do this is the dictionary they have built over their career, a lexicon pulled from a wide variety of case matters, with medical, legal, or technological terminology, and any other subject matter you can think of. But each case is unique, so to aid the reporter in building the dictionary relevant to your case, send them a list of specific names and terms.

Speaking of dictionaries, provide spellings to the court reporter. This tip was universal, with every reporter highlighting how helpful it is to receive spellings from the legal team, either prior to the deposition or on breaks. This shaves off valuable minutes spent seeking correct spellings, meaning the rough is ready that much sooner, and is that much more accurate!

Make sure the court reporter can access exhibits. If possible, make exhibits available to the court reporter prior to the deposition, whether remote or in-person. Court reporting professionals love prep materials – as veteran court reporter Lori Stokes says, the more they can prepare in advance, the better the rough will be. Having the exhibits prior to the deposition is a huge help to the court reporter, as they may also contain spellings, terms, etc. that the reporter will need for the rough.

Additional prep materials are always welcome and helpful to court reporters. If there are previous transcripts in the case, send them. Court reporter of two years Cassidy Western specifically said the roughs she has turned around fastest were those where she had access to previous transcripts in the case. If previous depositions were covered by the same court reporting agency, they will already have those transcripts to provide to the reporter, but double check to make sure the reporter has all previous witnesses. There is no such thing as too many prep materials. This was another unanimous tip from all the reporters polled. Hint, reporters always love receiving a copy of the Notice of Deposition.

Test with the remote technician before the deposition. Yes, we keep saying it. It’s essential. You need to test your internet connection and speed, test your audio and video, microphone, etc. before you log in to take the remote deposition. Everyone participating in a remote deposition needs to be able to see and hear. The reporter who can’t hear the participant who didn’t test their connection and equipment can’t promise a highly accurate rough draft (or final). Schedule the test.

For remote depositions, log in early. It is always recommended to log in early to remote depositions. You can quickly check your connection, audio, and video. Make it a habit to log in early to give the reporter your name, firm name, and names of other attorneys from your firm who will be joining. If possible, providing a list of attendees from your firm before the remote deposition would be even better.

These tips outline what you can do from scheduling the deposition right up to the moment you go on the record. They set you firmly on the path to a quality rough draft from the court reporter. Next week, check out the list of actions you can take during the deposition to secure your speedy and accurate rough draft.

Planet Depos court reporters have been covering legal proceedings in all variety of case matters, all over the globe, with a combined experience totaling centuries. From realtime to roughs, in-person or remote, the Planet Depos court reporter will make it happen. To schedule your next proceeding, contact Planet Depos at scheduling@planetdepos.com, or schedule online.

White Glove Service Does Exist

White Glove Service Does Exist

Customer service can make or break a relationship with a vendor. No matter how good the product, if the service is sub-par, it makes each interaction with that company a miserable experience you do not want to repeat. For a busy paralegal managing a myriad of details in a jam-packed schedule of high-profile cases, a court reporting agency with superior customer service throughout the case is critical. Frankly, you should never settle for poor customer service. In fact, even mediocre customer service should not be the norm. White glove service does exist, and when you find it, you will never again settle for less. Here are five signs you have found this top tier service.

The First Sign – The Consummate Professional. Let’s say you call to schedule a deposition in a big case, with lots of exhibits, realtime, expedites, and the like. You hope the scheduling coordinator sounds interested in what you have to say and confident they can help you with all the moving parts your case entails. You want a person who listens to what you require for the deposition, asks intelligent, pertinent questions to clarify those needs, and sounds like a together, organized individual who takes his or her job seriously. You want someone like you! You deserve that.

The Second Sign – Like Patience on a Monument. Litigation can be a whirlwind of change. Schedules change often. Exhibits get switched out at the last minute, necessitating rapid downloads of voluminous exhibits, frequently sensitive documents at that, to be gotten to the technician for handling/marking in the deposition. Patience is a virtue everyone in your court reporting agency must practice every minute they are working. You see that patience reflected in their ability to be flexible, cancelling and rescheduling depositions seamlessly and cheerfully. You see it any time a standing order must be modified. You’ll be reminded just how professional they are! They have seen it all, and they get it and can roll with it.

The Third Sign – White glove service means you always come first. You are the priority. The world revolves around you and your case. Your relationship is highly valued. You get the idea. This company has a “people first” attitude. When you call, they listen. They understand what you need because they hear what you’re saying, and they’re professionals as we’ve already established. They will ask questions to better understand any sensitive requests, for example, a highly confidential matter or particularly cost-conscious client. They will demonstrate creativity to accommodate special requests, as they are not bogged down by procedure and can focus on making it happen for you, their valued client. There is no problem, potential or real, that when you present it to them, they don’t have or won’t find a working solution.

The Fourth Sign – A sense of urgency. This one is simple, but crucial. White glove service is possible only if your court reporting agency possesses a sense of urgency. It’s important to your case? It’s critical to them. Vital information is communicated to your team so that no details or schedule switches are missed, and everyone is on time and prepared for the proceeding. This sense of urgency is demonstrated by everyone with whom you interact, from your account executive to the scheduling coordinator(s), reporter(s), all the way to billing. This also serves as another reminder of that professionalism, to say nothing of efficiency.

The Fifth Sign – They Consistently Deliver. Customer service counts for nothing if, at the end of the day, you are not satisfied with the results delivered to you. Can you rely on the agency to come through every time? Roughs must be timely and clean, expedites must be prompt, exhibits handled flawlessly no matter how numerous and voluminous. Legal video must be usable, synced to the transcript if requested, and delivered when promised or sooner. The white glove court reporting agency delivers confidence. They earn your trust as you become secure in their ability to listen to and understand your requirements and concerns, communicate those to the team, and deliver what you need, even consistently surpassing your expectations. White glove service doesn’t just make you happy. It gets you results! The people who provide you with the gold standard customer service are the people who make it happen.

The quality of customer service speaks volumes about an agency. Not every agency is equipped to provide the gold standard. For example, the company that is not stuck on rigid policies and procedures allows your representative to think outside the box and come up with a creative solution to impress you and get the job done! An emphasis on teamwork keeps everything on schedule, with your case management team supporting each other around the clock. Similarly, when all departments routinely and seamlessly communicate with one another, they keep the process moving and organized so you meet your deadlines, supplied with everything you need from your court reporting agency.

Planet Depos has been providing white glove service for over a decade, going the extra mile time and again to continually make it happen for their clients. This dedication to service, coupled with their advanced technological skill, has set them apart in court reporting, particularly during the challenges of 2020. To experience white glove service for yourself, contact scheduling@planetdepos.com, or schedule online.

Remote Depositions: Importance of a Demonstration  and Testing

Remote Depositions: Importance of a Demonstration and Testing

Do you have a remote deposition or hearing coming up with Planet Depos and are unsure how the process will work? Do you want to find out more about what Planet Depos offers? Perhaps you have sat in on a demo previously, but it’s been a while – there have been some upgrades! Planet Depos’ Tech Support can provide you with a remote demonstration and/or connectivity test with Zoom or WebEx.

During the interactive demonstration, which typically takes about 20 minutes, we cover what to expect on a remote deposition with Planet Depos, including:

  • How we share and mark exhibits
  • How we pass remote control to participants to annotate or highlight key parts of an exhibit
  • Role of a Remote Technician for troubleshooting, displaying, marking, and sharing of exhibits
  • Cover key features of a Zoom or WebEx session such as file transfer, screen sharing and breakout rooms
  • How witnesses are pinned and will appear on the recorded video (if you have a Videographer)

The technician will also:

  • Test your audio and video
  • Cover the key services Planet Depos offers, Remote Technician, Digital Court Reporter and Videographer
  • Answer questions you may have

We can also customize the session based on what information you are looking for.

The interactive demonstration is also the time to test all participants’ microphones, web cameras, and each parties’ internet speed and connection to the Zoom or WebEx session. This is your opportunity to troubleshoot common issues in advance of your remote proceeding, ensuring no hiccups during your remote deposition. The most common issues that Tech Support sees and assists with are:

  • Poor internet which can result in bad audio or video:

This could be because you are on a weak or slow wireless (WiFi) network. It is recommended that whenever possible use a wired Ethernet connection. If you must use WiFi, stay as close to the wireless router as possible. Make sure to have at least a 3-5 Mbps download speed connection. The higher the speed, the better experience.

  • Problems getting the webcam to be recognized by Zoom or WebEx:

There are several factors that could result in Zoom or WebEx not being able to recognize and connect your webcam. The most common is that you did not specify your webcam, or you have video disabled in the video conferencing application. Note, that for Zoom or WebEx to detect and use your webcam, it must be detected by your computer. Most external webcams are automatically detected by your computer. If it is not, refer to your webcam instructions or contact the manufacturer.

Here are instructions to enable and specify your webcam.
In Zoom:

    • To enable, click Start Video in the lower left corner
    • To specify, click ^ to the right of Start Video and select your webcam

In WebEx:

    • To enable: click Start Video in the middle of the WebEx window
    • To specify: click ˅ to the right of Start Video and select your webcam

 

  • Problems getting the microphone to be recognized by Zoom or WebEx:

The issue of microphones not being recognized by Zoom or WebEx is similar to the problem with webcams. The most common reason is the wrong microphone was selected or it is muted. Note that for Zoom or WebEx to detect and use your microphone, it must be detected by your computer. If you are using an external webcam, many have a microphone built in. You can select the webcam as your microphone. Similarly, many laptops have a built-in microphone. Most external microphones are automatically detected by your computer. If it is not, refer to your microphone’s instructions or contact the manufacturer.

To unmute and specify your microphone –

In Zoom:

    • To enable: click Unmute in the lower left corner.
    • To specify: click ^ to the right of Mute and select your microphone. Many external webcams have a built-in microphone so you will need to select your webcam as the microphone option.

In WebEx:

    • To enable: click Unmute in the middle of the WebEx window.
    • To specify: click ˅ to the right of Mute and select your microphone. Many external webcams have a built-in microphone so you will need to select your webcam as the microphone option.

 

  • Camera position and lighting problems:

The best location for the webcam is straight on at eye level. It can also be slightly above you, pointing downward. Position yourself so you are in the middle of the video frame.

For lighting, make sure that you are sitting in a nicely lit room. If you can, sit facing a window. Natural light works best over artificial light. Make sure that the light source is in front of you and not behind, to avoid being silhouetted or causing glare on screen.

  • Using the web browser to join rather than the computer application:

Even though the web browser client allows you to join a Zoom or WebEx proceeding without having to download or install any software, it does have its limitations. For instance, you will need to tell the browser to allow it to use your microphone and webcam. If you miss that pop-up, you will not be able to have your microphone and webcam available. For a better experience, we recommend you download and install the computer Zoom or WebEx computer software prior to the start of the proceeding.

All remote attendees can and should schedule a remote test session with Tech Support prior to your scheduled session. Simply e-mail Tech Support or your Planet Depos account executive and we will set up a date and time.

Take a look at Planet Depos’ quick YouTube video on how we handle remote depositions for both Zoom and WebEx.

Planet Depos has been covering depositions for more than a decade. For more information on all things deposition and court reporting, check out our blog page. To schedule your next proceeding, contact Planet Depos at scheduling@planetdepos.com, or schedule online.

Mobile Videoconferencing (MVC): 10 Tech Tips for a Better Experience

Mobile Videoconferencing (MVC): 10 Tech Tips for a Better Experience

Remote depositions and hearings through a videoconferencing platform, such as Zoom or WebEx, have been happening for some time. Do you have one coming up? All remote attendees can and should schedule a remote test session with Tech Support prior to your scheduled session. Simply e-mail Tech Support or your Planet Depos account executive and we will set up a date and time. You may have done a demo when remote became the thing in spring 2020, but the advances in mobile videoconferencing technology since then will surprise you. Think of all the updates you constantly download to your phone. Updates in the technology realm are frequent and potent! A refresher demo will keep you current so your remote proceeding is a breeze. Tech support will make sure you can join and be seen and heard at the depo as well as answer any questions of what to expect during the remote session. We also recommend that you join 30 minutes prior to the scheduled start of your actual deposition or hearing to allow troubleshooting time in the event you run into an unsuspected technical issue.

Here are some tips from Planet Depos’ Tech Support team to have a better experience for your remote deposition or hearing, especially if you have experienced poor audio or connections in the past. These tips are for all participants joining the session. They can help if you are experiencing issues with latency, frozen screen, poor quality audio/video, or meeting getting disconnected.

  1. Use wired (Ethernet cable) Internet connection
    Whenever possible, use a wired Ethernet connection during your videoconference. Connect a cable directly from your computer into the wireless router, or if in an office / court location, into a wall data jack. Disable wireless (WiFi) on your computer. Other computers and devices using the same network, while in a remote videoconference session, can cause the network to slow down and cause audio and video issues. If possible, ensure that your computer is the only device using the Internet connection.
  2. Have a fast enough Internet speed
    Having a fast enough Internet speed will help. Just for the videoconference application, it is recommended to have at least 3-5 Mbps download speeds. The higher the speeds, the better experience.  You can check your speeds by opening a web browser and visiting https://fast.com/ or do a Google search for Internet speed test web sites.
  3. Adjust your location
    If you must use a wireless (WiFi) connection, to help maximize signal quality and strength, try to move the router closer to your computer or move the computer closer to the router. The closer you are to the wireless router, the better your signal strength and quality. If your wireless router and computer supports the faster 5Ghz WiFi network, you should use it. WiFi routers have a particular range. As you move further away from it, your connection becomes weaker, and your video and audio could freeze or become choppy. Also note that walls and staircases can weaken the WiFi distance. Although it has a faster connection, the 5Ghz has a shorter range.
  4. Close unnecessary applications on your computer
    Videoconferencing applications can require significant memory and processing power from your computer. Closing all unnecessary computer applications such as e-mail programs and web browsers will help the application run better.
  5. Reboot your computer
    Reboot your computer prior to any remote videoconferencing meeting. This helps clear out and remove temporary files. Rebooting your computer regularly is good practice in general.
  6. Use a standalone phone
    If you are experiencing audio issues in the meeting, dial into the meeting using a standalone phone and disable the audio in the videoconferencing application to avoid feedback. If there are multiple people in the room, use a speakerphone.
  7. Avoid other activities on your computer during the remote session
    The videoconferencing application should be the only application running unless you are sharing your screen to present exhibits. Avoid using other tasks that are computer processing and internet connection intensive. Also, do not use any internet connection intensive tasks on other computers or devices that are using the same Internet connection- e.g., large file downloads or uploads, video streaming such as YouTube, transferring files over the Internet/network or computer backups.
  8. Stop your webcam/video when not needed
    If you do not need to have others see you, you can stop the video by clicking on Stop Video and start your video only when you need to show yourself on via webcam. Stopping your own video will reduce internet traffic going out on your network.
  9. Disable HD webcam video
    Sending high definition (HD) webcam video requires more bandwidth. Disabling HD video will free up more of your Internet connection. This will use standard definition (SD) video quality. To disable HD video:

    • Zoom:  open the Zoom Desktop App. Open Settings (gear icon), select Video and uncheck HD.
    • WebEx: open the WebEx Desktop App. Click your profile picture (or initials if you don’t have a profile picture set), select Settings > Video and uncheck Enable HD
  10. Router Maintenance
    On your personal home connection, router manufacturers routinely provide updates to their router. These can be security updates as well as performance improvements. It is good practice to not only restart your routers regularly but to check for updates. Refer to your router’s documentation on how to check and install available updates. To restart your router, if there is no power button, typically this can be accomplished by unplugging the power cable for 60 seconds and then plugging back it. It can take a few minutes for the router to reboot and reinitialize. Refer to your router’s documentation on how to properly restart the router.

Planet Depos has been covering depositions and all the details for over a decade. Request your demo to see how our remote platform exceeds expectations. It takes only 15-20 minutes! For more tips, check out additional pieces on the PD Blog page. To schedule your next proceeding, contact Planet Depos at scheduling@planetdepos.com or schedule online.

Depositions: Is the Future Remote?

Depositions: Is the Future Remote?

Planet Depos conducted a survey over the summer of 2021 to gain more insight into law firms’ attitudes toward remote depositions. Most depositions since March 2020 have been conducted via remote technology, so attorneys are more than familiar with the medium at this stage. Respondents were asked specific questions and given the opportunity to list aspects of remote or in-person depositions which most influenced their opinions for or against that means.

New Perspective – Nearly two thirds of those surveyed (59%) said their perspective on remote depositions has changed. The pandemic and resulting increase in virtual communication made them reconsider remote depositions, with 61% stating they took into consideration the potential benefits remote depositions pass on to clients. These benefits include convenience, and cost and time savings. For example, close to three quarters of respondents (71%) said prior to COVID, they spent up to $20,000 a year on deposition travel. For a third, travel ranked as the second largest deposition expense, after transcript costs. Remote depositions made a big difference in their budgets! Going forward, most attorneys prefer a combination of in-person and remote depos:

Free-Form Considerations – Respondents, when given the opportunity to list pros/cons to remote vs. in-person depositions, provided a thoughtful list.

Those favoring remote depositions emphasized the convenience for all involved. Remote depositions prove to be the best solution for participants with safety concerns amidst the COVID pandemic. Those with elderly clients or clients with serious health issues especially appreciated being able to conduct depositions without jeopardizing their clients’ well-being. Cost and time savings were again mentioned as a primary reason to prefer remote depositions.

Respondents preferring in-person depositions argued that technology can be tricky for older or less technologically savvy clients, making in-person depositions simpler for all parties. It is not uncommon to have clients who cannot access the necessary technology at home, or clients who have but cannot use the technology. Similar concerns were raised regarding the ability to focus on legal terms in a remote deposition, reasoning that it is much easier to focus in an in-person setting. The mechanics of being able to hand the witness a document to physically review was also preferred to sharing a digital exhibit on a screen.

Take-Aways – Attorneys appreciate the benefits of cost and time-savings remote depositions offer them and their clients, and many clients appreciate those advantages as well. There are two sides to every coin, and the long and short of it is that remote depositions are here to stay, and in-person depositions will stick around as well, though remote depositions will be the backbone of discovery for the foreseeable future.

With law firms and their clients growing more comfortable with remote technology, and that technology advancing rapidly, court reporting services are available to enhance the remote deposition. These services make the remote deposition as near to in-person as is possible.

For example, a firm could schedule a certified realtime reporter to provide a near-instant verbatim record, available for streaming to attorneys and their teams. A realtime feed benefits those who find it more difficult to follow a remote deposition. Realtime makes it easy to instantly flag testimony for follow-up, saves time with fewer readbacks by the reporter, and is immensely helpful to an interpreter if applicable. Realtime reporters are in high demand, so attorneys wishing to include this invaluable service should secure a realtime reporter as soon as they schedule.

To up the in-person feel of the remote deposition, schedule a technician. The technician monitors the connection throughout the proceeding, keeping all parties continuously connected. More than that, this skilled professional troubleshoots any issues a connecting party may have, and can handle exhibits, sharing and marking them as a reporter would for an in-person deposition. For anyone with a client who is nervous about a remote deposition, the technician will be a huge help.

Digital exhibits and a secure sharing system simplify the whole exhibit question in remote depositions. Talk to your court reporting agency about a cloud-based service to confidently share exhibits with ease and airtight security. Files should be protected with up to AES 256-bit encryption both in transit and at rest, protecting even highly confidential documents. Files should be accessible to cleared parties from any device. The system makes storage and management of exhibits a snap!

Planet Depos has been covering in-person and remote depositions all over the world for more than a decade. For more helpful tips, check out the Planet Depos blog. To schedule your next proceeding, contact Planet Depos at scheduling@planetdepos.com, or schedule online.

 

 

 

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