By Micayla Charles & Carly Wilson
The process of scheduling a deposition can have several moving pieces, from counsel’s and the witness’s schedule to arranging for a court reporter, videographer, and/or interpreter. And then there’s finding an appropriate location, organizing exhibits, setting up special services, as well as planning for the necessary technology needed to make the deposition run smoothly. If you are using a court reporting firm to assist in coordinating the logistics of a deposition, below are some tips and key points to remember when scheduling.
Tip 1: Determine the proper venue
Determining the proper location for your deposition is vitally important. Will the deposition take place at a specific venue, or will it be held remote? For the past year the rise in remote depos has significantly increased and firms have found they can successfully complete depos this way. Some physical aspects of a deposition location, even if they are held remote, that one needs to consider include:
- the size of the space,
- seating availability,
- breakout room accessibility, and
- the proximity to parking or public transportation.
It is also important to consider the facility’s technology services, such as photocopiers, fax machines, scanners, and wireless or hardline internet connections. It would also be prudent to inquire about any additional cost for heating and A/C control for after-hours access. If the venue is remote, will you need a zoom technician, and if so do you have a specific tech you want? Here at PD our zoom technicians have become like celebrities—our clients love them!
Once the location is selected, you will need to include the specific information in the Notice, along with the requirement of court reporters, videographers, interpreters, and of course proper social distancing guidelines. All Planet Depos offices have reduced capacities and provide pre-checks, cleaning, disinfecting, and proper supplies as well as common area guidelines such as the use of face coverings. Additionally, we have our guide to A Safe Return to In-Person Litigation to provide all necessary information.
Tip 2: Transcript and video delivery
The transcript turnaround time varies amongst court reporting agencies. If you know that you’ll need the transcript on an expedited basis, inform the court reporter or the agency as soon as possible. Doing so allows the reporter and the Production team to adjust schedules accordingly to ensure that the transcript is delivered to you on time.
Of course, if you think you might need a rough draft of the transcript, make every attempt to let the court reporting agency know in advance so that a qualified court reporter may be assigned. If a videographer will be present at the depositions, it is important to be specific about any rush request for the video.
Digital video files are the easiest way to receive video depositions quickly. Many videographers also create DVDs during the deposition, and if you request in advance, they may be able to provide you with a DVD to take home with you.
Tip 3: Request realtime translation
If you would like to receive a realtime feed during the deposition, it is best to provide the request to the court reporting agency at the time of scheduling so that a qualified reporter may be assigned. The reporter will be prepared to transmit local realtime (within the deposition suite), as well as to stream the realtime to a remote location.
Tip 4: Attend depositions remotely
Traveling to depositions is not always convenient or deemed “safe” because of external forces such as a worldwide pandemic. But fortunately, technology easily permits for remote attendance through either traditional videoconferencing or mobile videoconferencing.
Traditional videoconferencing uses dedicated VC units that connect through a static IP address. Another option for remote attendance is via mobile videoconference. Mobile videoconferencing allows remote participants to connect via most any device, including laptops, iPads, or smartphones via Zoom or other video conferencing platforms. Your court reporting firm can set you up with a mobile videoconference meeting that is both secure and stable.
It is important to consider security needs for the remote deposition. At Planet Depos we have the enterprise version of Zoom with fantastic security, but also have versions that are both HIPAA-compliant and Zoom for Government that will provide you a secure remote deposition while following all necessary guidelines. Our blog post on Zoom security provides additional details on why Zoom meets our security needs.
If seeing the witness is not a priority, often the cheapest method to attend a deposition remotely is to have a conference call number provided, which will allow you to simply connect via phone.
Tip 5: Proper Equipment
Your court reporting firm should also be able to provide you with loaner pieces such as iPads, projection units and document cameras, if requested in advance.
And if you are scheduling a remote depo, there is some important “equipment” that you will want to take care of ahead of time:
- Test your internet for a strong Wi-Fi connection or utilize a hardwired connection.
- If you will be on video be sure there is good lighting, eliminate distracting backgrounds, and dress professionally.
- Test your equipment to be sure your microphones, headphones, and audio quality are all working properly. You can schedule a test with one of our technicians.
- Make sure your Zoom software is up to date.
Tip 6: Sending exhibits in advance
It’s always helpful to send exhibits in advance of the deposition. Sending exhibits digitally can be the most convenient and efficient way to ensure the exhibits make it to the deposition. If you want to pre-mark exhibits, you can always include that information for the court reporter. But if you need to send original exhibits through a mail service, be sure to always retain a tracking number and confirm the proper receiving address for the exhibits.
Having a Zoom Tech on your remote depo makes the exhibit process seamless. You will upload the exhibits beforehand and our Zoom Tech will take it from there during the deposition to share the exhibits.
Tip 7: Changes in time, venue, or services
Deposition details change all the time. Court reporting firms are generally very flexible, but it is vital to communicate any changes in the deposition time, venue, or services as soon as you know them. This ensures that every deposition starts on time, and it also helps to avoid any unnecessary charges.
There are many service options available when taking a deposition. Knowing your options and communicating your deposition needs are important to ensure that your deposition runs smoothly and that all participants are on time and prepared.
Our experienced scheduling coordinators are available 24/7 to assist you with scheduling a deposition. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 888.433.3767.