Ideally, you want everyone sitting in the same room during your deposition. But, remote deposition can be a cost-effective and time-saving alternative.
If you’ve ever had to depose a witness who lives in another city, state, or country, you know that it can be a challenge. Sometimes, a deposition that would normally take a few hours can eat up several days when you factor in travel time. Not to mention the additional expense of getting there and back. Here at MGR Reporting, we’ve traveled many miles to make a record. Depending on the importance of the witness testimony, remote deposition can be a cost-effective and time-saving alternative.
Ideally, you want everyone sitting in the same room during your deposition. But, if you have several expert witnesses on opposite ends of the country, it would definitely make sense to take advantage of the available videoconferencing technology. Perhaps you are planning to question one witness who is in Ohio and another one in California. Through remote video streaming, you could realistically complete both depositions within one day.
Many large firms are making use of remote deposition technology and some are even using it to allow external legal teams and other interested parties to watch the deposition proceedings. Remote participants can securely communicate with each other using private chat technology during questioning. This would come in handy if you and your client wanted to quickly assess the credibility of a witness when considering settlement.
What is Involved in a Remote Deposition?
A remote deposition simply means you are not in the same physical location as the witness and opposing counsel. The court reporter is there with the witness to record the testimony and create the official transcript. A legal videographer is also there to manage the live video streaming and record the video.
You and your legal team can dial-in from just about anywhere. All you need at your location is an internet connection that can smoothly handle teleconferencing and a device with a web-cam and microphone. From remote locations, all parties can share the same virtual space. While this won’t work for every situation, it does have its benefits in specific cases.
With video streaming, you can not only question the witness and observe their reaction to questions; you can also share digital documents and exhibits with opposing counsel. Your court reporter can assist you with this; simply send them the case materials in advance and they will present and mark the relevant document or exhibit at the appropriate time.
What is a Legal Videographer?
While the court reporter creates the official transcript, the legal videographer is skilled in creating a video record of the deposition. It is their job to ensure the integrity of the legal proceedings and the recording. Although the resulting video is not an official record like a transcript, it can be a valuable tool for analysis.
Legal videographers use state-of-the-art, high-definition cameras to record the proceedings. While they can be professionally certified, it is not required. A Certified Legal Video Specialist (CLVS) has demonstrated proficiency in legal video deposition practices and is certified by the Association for Court Reporters and Stenographers (NCRA).
Certified or not, legal videographers are skilled in video production, editing, synchronization, and live video streaming. They are able to troubleshoot and quickly resolve technical issues that may come up. In addition to depositions, legal videographers can also record mediation and settlement proceedings, site inspections, and provide a variety of other video services for the legal profession.
Enhance the Transcript
After your deposition, the legal videographer will synch the video to the deposition transcript, making it possible for you to see real-time reactions you might have missed during questioning; things that could either reinforce or challenge the witness testimony on the record.
For instance, when you ask the witness a question, their body language or facial expression can sometimes tell you whether they are answering truthfully or not. Visual clues like eye movements or fidgeting can have a strong influence on a judge or jury’s interpretation of the written transcript and affect the outcome of your case. Having the ability to review and analyze the behavior of the witness during questioning is a valuable tool.
A legal videographer can also be used to record the testimony of a witness who is unable to appear in court, such as someone who is hospitalized with a serious illness and might not make it to the trial date. Most courtrooms today are equipped with videoconferencing equipment that allows remote witnesses and defendants to participate in a trial.
We know that each situation is unique and, after discussing your particular case with you, we will offer you the best solution for your deposition. In addition to expert court reporting and high-quality transcripts, MGR Reporting offers legal videography and videoconferencing services.