| by Heather Duncan, Esq. and Manette Mays, Litigation Support Consultant
Now that we have been “sheltered-in-place” for the last eight weeks, most of us have had a chance to appear via web cam for meetings and depositions. Below are tips from attorneys, court reporters and videographers on ways to avoid traps for the unwary.
- Test your internet connection, phone line and camera. If you are not comfortable with the connection or the process, contact your deposition provider and request assistance, equipment and/or an office.
- If at all possible, use a device connected to an Ethernet cable. Wi-Fi can be unreliable.
- When preparing your witness for the deposition, review the remote process and test their equipment.
- Establish that the witness will be the primary focus of the camera and should remain fully visible during the entirety of the deposition. All other participants can be shown in thumbnails.
- During the remote deposition, dress professionally, sit in front of a neutral background and practice looking at your camera instead of the screen.
- Plan ahead for the introduction of Exhibits. Email them to the reporter one day prior to the deposition. Your deposition provider can give you instructions on how to select and introduce exhibits or can have someone assist you during the deposition.
- Keep in mind that a remote deposition via webcam is a formal proceeding. Do your best to eliminate background noise and disruptions.
- Don’t trust the mute button. Refrain from communications or activities that you don’t want overheard until you are formally off the record.
- Prior to the deposition, shut down any program that might pop up on your screen, including skype, instant messaging or email notifications.
- Finally, take the lead in establishing a professional protocol for the proceeding. At the onset request that all participants identify themselves and anyone else in the room. Get an agreement that the deponent may not utilize the chat feature on the application or use their cell phone during the deposition. Request that any documents being utilized by the deponent during testimony be identified and produced.
For all remote depositions Network Deposition Services provides a knowledgeable attendant who will assist with connecting to your deposition and remain available for the duration to provide assistance with displaying or transmitting exhibits, recording video or restarting. Personal tutorials and testing are available for both Network Now (Adobe Connect) and Zoom.