As we move further into 2021, almost a full year into the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s time to reflect on what we’ve learned. While our process still evolves daily, here are some basic dos and don’ts that have come to light after reporting hundreds of Zoom depositions.
- Respond quickly to the confirmation of your depo. Assigning reporters/moderators takes time and requires a great deal of behind-the-scenes coordination of schedules.
- Please join the meeting at least 10 minutes early. This way we can ensure an on-time start by ironing out any technical difficulties early.
- When testing ahead of time, please make sure we are testing with the exact equipment and in the exact room where the deposition will take place. Switching locations and/or equipment at the last minute can completely change the outcome.
- If you would like to send exhibits for our moderators to display on-screen, please do so early. 24 hours ahead of time is ideal. If we receive exhibits immediately prior to the deposition, expect delays in the start time as the exhibits are prepared.
- Regarding potential exhibits – the more, the better. Provided the documents are sent well ahead of time, it is better to have more documents loaded and ready to use - much smoother than attempting to load them during the depo.
- If there is any question that an interpreter would be of help, please schedule an interpreter.
- If switching from an in-person depo to a Zoom depo, or vice-versa, please do so sooner rather than later. This eliminates last-minute issues in rushing to make the switch.
- In-person depositions will be done with the clear understanding that all will be abiding by social distancing rules and wearing masks. If we do not feel safe, we will need to leave or make other arrangements.
- We have had some depositions take place in-person, with some attorneys still opting to attend via Zoom. If you know you will be appearing by Zoom to an otherwise in-person deposition, please let us know this as soon as possible so we can arrange it for you.
- On telephonic-only depositions, please email your appearance to the reporter. Also, please stay on the line for a moment at the conclusion of the deposition. We oftentimes have questions, and we wait until a break to ask those so as not to interrupt the deposition.
- While having magic ears would be wonderful, we do not have those. Speaking one at a time has never been more important. If everyone is speaking at the same time, no one can understand anything that is said.
- Need the transcript ASAP? No problem. If exhibits, spellings, special instructions are to be provided to the reporter, please do so ASAP so that we may provide good service.
- Notices have become more specific on where witnesses will be located in the virtual room. If counsel is in the room with the witness, that counsel should have their own screen and the video is to remain on at all times.
- We will take care of marking exhibits digitally. Please email any documents mentioned during the deposition to the court reporter.
- If the deposition was noticed as a video, we may need to take extra steps to ensure quality lighting, angles, and video quality on the witness.
I’ve been to few restaurants over the past year - fewer than I’d prefer, for sure - but some seem to have adapted to the changes we all face better than others. The information above is our attempt at adaption to a continually moving target. We understand from the attorneys’ viewpoint things are constantly changing as well, and our goal is to make the changes go more smoothly, with as little added stress as humanly possible in this new normal.
Stay safe and healthy,