Be Prepared to Love Videoconferencing

Videoconferencing can be much more economical than traveling out of town for depositions, but how you prepare will make all the difference.

Attending depositions over videoconference has become commonplace for many law firms whether they do so to save travel time, to save costs, to go green, or simply to avoid the hassle of air travel.  Videoconferencing is not what it once was.  The technology today is a good proxy for physically being somewhere else.  Wood & Randall’s videoconference suite is interconnected with a reliable network that is specifically in place for taking remote depositions at literally hundreds of locations throughout the country.  Moreover, the Wood & Randall deposition suite can connect to thousands of videoconference suites around the world.

So what do you need to know to book a videoconference deposition?  Here are a few tips:

1) Give Clear Notice.  The notice to take deposition should clearly state the time, time zone and location where the witness will appear.  It should also note the time, time zone and location at which the attorneys will be attending.  The way to achieve clarity is to break this out as separate paragraphs on the notice.

2) Plan Ahead For Exhibits.  If you are not able to ship pre-marked exhibits, make sure the location where the witness will appear can accommodate heavy volume faxing or can print emailed documents during the deposition. 

Other alternatives include using a document camera to show paper content via the videoconference.  Or, if the content is electronic and exists on a laptop, it can be shown electronically by connecting the laptop to the videoconference unit.  However, this requires a savvy user and should normally be handled by a second chair or a paralegal at the deposition rather than the taking attorney.  Showing content over videoconference requires specialized equipment, so if this is important you should confirm this capability when scheduling the videoconference room.   You would also need to have the exhibits scanned and available on a laptop prior to the start of the deposition.

3)  Arrive Early and Schedule Precisely.  Videoconference time is valuable and arriving late costs everyone money.  Get an accurate estimate of the likely duration of the deposition to maximize your savings.  Videoconference rooms are rented by the hour.

5) Check Your Protocols.  Is the site you are calling using the same communication protocol as your system?  If your videoconference system is running over IP and the room you are renting has only ISDN, you will need to run the call through a gateway service.  Also, if there are more than two sites connecting, you will need a bridging service.  In either case, Wood & Randall can set up these services for your call.

6) Know Who’s Where.  For videoconference depositions, the court reporter is usually hired at the witness location.  If a video record is needed, a videographer can be hired also at the witness location, just as you would do if there were no videoconference.  However, it is increasingly common (particularly for international depositions) that the court reporter by stipulation is not at the witness location but rather takes down the testimony via the videoconference.  It is also not uncommon for a videographer to monitor a videoconference remote from the witness and make a video recording from the videoconference itself.    

Videoconference technology has sufficiently matured that high quality, reliable videoconference depositions are executed without a hitch around the country every day.  By keeping a few simple planning points in mind, you can use videoconference technology to save money, save time, avoid hassle, and even bring in additional minds without additional cost.  Now, that’s something to LOVE!!!

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