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International Travel Alert! In-Person Depositions Can Resume in Korea

International Travel Alert! In-Person Depositions Can Resume in Korea

Korea has recently made it possible for U.S. attorneys to hold in-person depositions once again. Visitors from the U.S. and other visa-exempt countries can enter Korea with no quarantine period, provided they meet certain criteria. The criteria were relaxed somewhat in April, making it much easier for U.S. attorneys to enter Korea for depositions.

Here is what you need to know:

There is no visa requirement for U.S. citizens. Korea is part of the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP). In short, this program enables U.S. citizens to visit Korea with no visa for up to 90 days or less if traveling for tourism, business meetings, conference attendance, or a family visit. On reciprocity, Korean citizens can visit the U.S. for the same reasons without a visa. This means U.S. attorneys do not need a visa to enter Korea for the purpose of taking depositions.

Visa-free travelers do need an ETA. What is an ETA? An ETA is an electronic travel authorization. This particular ETA is referred to as the K-ETA, for Korea. The requirements are straightforward.

  • Travelers must apply for their K-ETA at least 24 hours before boarding their flight to Korea.
    • When applying, have handy:
      • Your passport – you will need to enter your passport number
      • Your email address so you can receive notification of K-ETA status
      • Your credit/debit card to pay the $10 application fee
      • A photo of your face
    • The K-ETA is required in order to receive a boarding pass.
    • The K-ETA is valid for a period of two years.
    • The K-ETA exempts visitors from submitting an arrival card, expediting the entry immigration process.

The K-ETA site does provide a very helpful FAQ page, should you have additional questions regarding the process.

Quarantine guidelines have changed. As of April 1st, even those who were vaccinated outside of Korea can forgo quarantine. To be exempt from quarantine, the below requirements must be met:

  • The traveler must be fully vaccinated.
    • Fully vaccinated is defined as having received all recommended doses of the WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccine, +14 days.
    • The exemption lasts 180 days from vaccination date.
    • If it has been more than 180 days since full vaccination, the traveler must receive a booster.
  • The traveler must enter their vaccination history into Q-CODE, the quarantine information pre-entry system.
  • The traveler must take a total of three (3) COVID-19 tests.
    • They must take a PCR Test no sooner than 48 hours before departure from the U.S.
    • They must take a second PCR Test within 24 hours of arrival in Korea.
    • They must take a Rapid Test within six to seven days of arrival in Korea.

Some pre-travel steps remain the same. It is recommended you subscribe to Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), which keeps you in the know on safety and security. STEP also helps the U.S. Embassy, as well as family, to get in touch with you should there be an emergency abroad. You should look up any travel advisories for your destination as well, which the U.S. Department of State provides on their site.

Planet Depos has been covering depositions around the world for over a decade. There is a Planet Depos court reporting team living in Korea, as well as other Planet Depos teams throughout Asia, including several interpreters with abundant IP experience. For more information on scheduling your in-person (or remote) depositions in Korea, contact Planet Depos International Scheduling at 888.433.3767 or international@planetdepos.com. You can even schedule your international depositions online.

 

 

Tips to Help You Handle Workplace Stress

Tips to Help You Handle Workplace Stress

The legal world is a stressful place. Paperwork, deadlines, details, confidential information, anxious clients – this and more is enough to stress out anyone, even seasoned attorneys, paralegals and support staff. Tight deadlines and reams of paperwork are unavoidable in the legal world, however. Many legal professionals do their best to power through, with no stress management plan in place.

Ignored workplace stress has very real side effects on your health – none of them positive. Stress often results in poor diet choices, such as a fast-food habit, too much caffeine, sugar, etc. Stress can result in physical pain and worse. The real, physical effects of stress include:

  • Headache
  • Muscle tension and aches
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Poor sleep or insomnia
  • Irritability

These discomforts can drive people to further unhealthy choices, like tobacco use, or zoning out in front of the tv, adding fuel to the fire. Ultimately, unchecked stress can lead to serious health issues, e.g., high blood pressure, obesity, and even heart disease, the number one cause of death in the United States. Stress need not lead to such dire results, however. Stress is a fact of life to be taken seriously and dealt with appropriately.

There are many healthy tactics you can use to manage stress. Here is a short list of suggestions.

  • Take breaks. These can be very short if deadlines dictate!
    • Do a lap around the office/home/neighborhood. This provides both a quick mental break and movement for a little endorphin push.
    • Stretch! A couple minutes of stretching can make a big difference in your mood.
    • Look out a window and take a few deep breaths, maybe give your neck a little stretch, or just take your time drinking some water.
    • Go outside for a few minutes with a cup of coffee. Enjoy fresh air and quiet.

Different studies suggest different intervals, so figure out what works for you and your workload and start taking little breaks to refresh. Don’t waste the break scrolling on your phone. Rest your eyes and avoid unpleasant news notifications, etc.

  • Move more. Work and technology have made us a very sedentary society, unfortunately. Sitting too long is no good for your health, so get up! There are many different types of exercise, so there is bound to be at least one you will enjoy. Some activities are especially good for working up a sweat and dissolving daily stresses. These include:
    • Dancing! Who doesn’t enjoy dancing? Maybe not in front of other people, but most of us love to dance. Turn up your favorite music and break out your best moves.
    • Walking is fantastic low-impact cardio work. It is also a great time to organize your thoughts, work out a problem, or just unplug and enjoy nature.
    • Kickboxing is a great way to “attack” stress. Literally punch and kick it out. Kickboxing also requires coordination and focus, so you’re distracted from daily worries and get a real mental break while engaging in a healthy activity.
    • Team sports! Grab a friend for a tennis match, make a regular date with some buddies for basketball, whatever game you and yours like. You get to be active and enjoy the company of your friends, a surefire way to melt anxiety and calories at the same time.
    • Yoga requires a lot of focus and encourages deep breathing, both good for stress relief, as you are focusing on your posture rather than your problems, and deep breathing has a very calming effect. Yoga also stretches your muscles, releasing tension you may be holding in your neck, shoulders, low back and hips, areas stress loves to creep into and torment.
  • Talk to someone. Stress can be overwhelming, and any human can relate. Talk to a trusted friend. Release some of the pent-up frustration. They may have advice or just a good ear and sympathetic word. They may be able to see if you need to talk to someone else, like a professional who can help you better cope. Again, stress should not be treated lightly, and it’s ok to need extra help!
  • Sleep. Stress is an exhausting phenomenon. Don’t let it wear you down and weaken your immune system. Get some rest.
  • Do something you love. Hobbies are beneficial. They are an opportunity to get some “me time” and an instant mood boost. It is never too late to discover a new hobby to love. Learning a new activity relieves stress by providing another healthy distraction and the feeling of accomplishment as you master a musical instrument, for example, or see your vegetable garden’s first harvest!

Stress is a frustrating element of work. It has benefits, in that it gives you an adrenalin kick that can spur you to meet your deadlines or put in the extra effort and give a terrific presentation. However, stress can very quickly lead to severe consequences, if not properly managed. The past two years have been particularly stressful for many, reminding all of us of the need to take all aspects of health seriously. Take the time to tackle your stress and feel the weight lift off your shoulders. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!

Planet Depos has been taking the stress out of depositions for a decade and counting. For more tips and information on all topics court reporting, from international depositions to remote deposition videography, check out the PD Blog. To schedule your next proceeding with no worries, contact Planet Depos at scheduling@planetdepos.com, or schedule online.

Keeping the Record Sealed: Secure your Case Information and Documents

Keeping the Record Sealed: Secure your Case Information and Documents

Security and confidentiality are paramount in legal matters. Even if a case matter has no protective order or confidential designation, you don’t want your clients’ information compromised in any way. It is a non-negotiable that your court reporting agency keeps your information and your clients’ information private. Remote platforms, repositories, sharing software, etc., need to be secure. Your agency should be completely transparent about security measures in place, including encryption, host platforms and the like.

Think about the most confidential files in your intellectual property matter, for example. Where would they be most vulnerable? The court reporting agency’s repository hosts all the transcripts, videos, and exhibits for every deposition and possibly through the trial. Additionally, if you are using their exhibit sharing platform, you must consider how secure that platform is, as sensitive documents containing proprietary information and even source code will be stored in and shared through the program. The dark world of virtual theft has become more and more sophisticated. Ransomware attacks have increased dramatically in the last two years, and law firms have become a target for these nefarious agents. It is more important than ever to scrutinize the security practices of your court reporting agency. All hosting platforms must have ironclad impenetrability.

What security measures should you look for? These are crucial:

  • Encryption
  • Strong password policies
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Protective order compliance

What is encryption? Encryption converts data into a code for the purpose of prohibiting unauthorized access. You want your files protected in this manner when they are being emailed and when they are in virtual storage. Look for 256-bit AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) Encryption, which ensures high security. AES is fast, flexible, and safe. 256-bit AES is considered “military grade” encryption and is adopted by the U.S. government and other intelligence organizations worldwide. It is used in many applications as well, including VPNs (Virtual Private Network, an encrypted connection from a device to a network), enormously important in security. Are files encrypted both in transit and at rest? The answer should be yes. You want all your information fully protected.

How are the password policies? It is possible to create a strong password on your own initiative, but are you forced to create a strong password by their policy? The court reporting firm needs to prioritize security, and this will be reflected in how difficult they make it to unlock your login.

  • How many characters are required?
  • Do you have to include a number and special character?
  • Do you need both upper- and lower-case letters in your password?
  • How often do you need to update your password?

A good rule of thumb, password requirements should encompass the following:

  • At least eight (8) characters
  • At least one upper case letter
  • At least one lower case letter
  • At least one special character
  • At least one numerical value

The more complex your password, the better. You should update your password periodically. Companies serious about protecting information have protocols prompting regular password updates. Planet Depos has written some helpful tips for creating solid passwords.

Multi-factor authentication gives your password extra teeth. Multi-factor authentication is sometimes referred to as two-step verification. In addition to the username and password, you need a second method to prove you are the person authorized to access the account. The initial factor is your username/password combination – something you know. The additional factor is something you have – your smartphone, for example, or an email account. When you correctly input the username and password, you’ll get a text or email with a code for you to enter, and only then can you access the account. Multi-factor authentication makes it more difficult for someone to break into your account, unless they have access to your second method of verification such as your cell phone or email. Multi-factor authentication is often only enabled for the first time you sign into an account from a new device, which you can then register to be recognized by the account in question.

The protective order is top priority. You want the order signed by all applicable parties and returned to you as quickly as possible. The order should be plainly followed, with correct designations used, and all emails appropriately labeled, transcripts redacted as needed, etc. If files need to be destroyed in the future, you should receive a response from the case manager immediately confirming receipt of the instructions, and notification when all files – transcript, video, exhibits, correspondence, and any other materials listed in the order – have been destroyed.

Security is crucial to your clients and must be strict throughout the duration of the case. All case information is valuable to your client, much of it very sensitive as well, so you need to review the systems and procedures that will be safeguarding that information. In this age of so much remote litigation, stronger infrastructure and protocols have evolved to add an extra layer of security.

Planet Depos has been supporting remote litigation with best-in-class court reporting all around the world for over a decade. Whether remote or in person, big or small case, PD reporters have the knowledge, experience, and technology to make it happen, while keeping all records safe and secure. For more tips on court reporting, remote depositions, and more, check out the PD blog. To schedule your next proceeding, contact Planet Depos at scheduling@planetdepos.com or schedule online.

 

Update on Depositions in Germany

Update on Depositions in Germany

After an unpredictable two years depositions may once again be taken in Germany! Stricter than some of its regional counterparts, Germany had indefinitely ceased in-person depositions due to Covid-19. As Covid-related restrictions ease across Europe, Germany has once again opened its doors to in-person depositions. With a detailed but manageable scheduling process, now is the best time to schedule depositions in Germany.

One of the stricter countries when it comes to depositions, German law prohibits the taking of in-person depositions in any location other than the U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt. Video and telephonic depositions are strictly verboten as well, so one should plan to have all participants appear in Frankfurt. It is advisable to reach out to the Consulate at germanyacs@state.gov as soon as possible with proposed deposition date/s. The German Government requires approximately 6 weeks to review and approve depositions – it is wise to start the scheduling process as far in advance as possible.

Once your deposition date/s are approved you must share additional case information with the Consulate – the U.S. Consulate General will require payment by money order or certified bank check and a copy of the notice of deposition, including:

  • Case name
  • Docket number
  • Location of the U.S. Court where the case will be adjudicated
  • Full name of all witnesses, nationality, complete German home address(esses) and phone number
  • Function and relationship between the parties and the witnesses and the nature of their testimony
  • Brief description of the case with special focus on the appropriate standards of the U.S. procedural and substantive laws

Two weeks ahead of your deposition/s you will also need to share a full list of participants (including nationality and role!), and an extensively detailed list of each attendee’s electronic equipment.

Although the process is more involved than in most countries, depositions in Germany can be taken with plenty of foresight and preparation. Planet Depos works with many highly-experienced and talented court reporters, videographers, and interpreters across Europe – an advantage to scheduling early is securing the perfect team for your depositions in Germany!

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.

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