Zoom Deposition Notice – How To Have A Flawless Remote Experience

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zoom deposition notice

While we no longer need to rely on remote working and video conferencing as a means to an end like in 2020, virtual depositions are just too convenient to abandon completely. That’s why you’ll probably send out a Zoom deposition notice or two sooner rather than later.

After all, video conferencing software is an indispensable tool in a modern lawyers arsenal. Doing depositions remotely can make life easier for you, for the opposition and most importantly, for your client.

Here’s how you can ensure a flawless remote deposition with a foolproof Zoom deposition notice and why you should incorporate video conferencing into your legal activities more often.

The benefits of remote depositions

Virtual depositions are a lot more refined these days compared to when they started because they’re no longer a scramble for survival but a choice. Here are just some of the benefits that will inspire you to start writing your next Zoom deposition notice:

1. Convenience: scheduling in-person depositions can be a hassle as it takes a lot of effort to sync up multiple busy schedules and to get everyone in the same room together.
2. Time-savings: since there is no long commute involved, everyone can save a significant amount of time. Additionally, you gain easier access to recordings from the deposition.
3. Cost-savings: the travel expenses get removed from your client’s account, which most clients will appreciate.
4. Increased comfort: deposition can be a scary experience for newcomers so having them participate from the comfort of their home can make the process a lot smoother. What’s more, clients or witnesses with health issues or disabilities will appreciate the fact they can participate without having to inconvenience themselves.

It’s important to note that for the deposition to go without any technical problems, you have to do a lot of legwork before it even starts. Here are just a few life-saving things you need to do in advance:

1. Sort out the locations and documents

Zoom deposition notice is not that different from its traditional counterpart. In short, it’s still a notice sent out to the parties in a case that needs to be assembled at a particular time and location. Hence, it’s nothing more than a court summons so that the participants can present their part in a court case.

The online version, i.e. a Zoom deposition notice is an online invitation to participate in deposition over a video conferencing software, most commonly – Zoom.

First thing’s first: Zoom deposition notice has to be sent out earlier so each participant has enough time to prepare. Everyone has to agree ahead of time where all of the participants will be located during the deposition. For instance, make it clear which parties might be located in the same room and which parties will appear remotely.

We can’t stress this enough – your Zoom deposition notice should state that the deposition will be taken remotely via video conference software. For example, if your witness will be located with you in your office and the other participants will be present via video conferencing, these details should be clearly specified in your notice.

The same goes for the technical parts of the meeting. Your Zoom deposition notice should outline details such as the software used for video conferencing as well as transcription software or any other software you will be using.

If you need to use documents by your deponent, you should request them before the deposition itself. This will provide you plenty of time to review the documents and check if they can be used during the conference.

2. Test everything beforehand to avoid technical issues

To ensure that your hearing doesn’t go down in flames you need to sort out all the technical details. Even if you knock it out of the ballpark with your Zoom deposition notice, the deposition might grind to a halt if your witness or a client has a bad internet connection, for example.

Check if your depondent has the necessary equipment such as a computer or a tablet that can run the video conferencing software. The same applies to a stable internet connection. 

If any of those are missing you can ask the court reporting service to provide a mobile wi-fi hotspot or a tablet that the despondent can use. 

It’s very useful to perform a test conference first. To give you an idea, a court reporter can assemble all the participants in a Zoom meeting to make sure none of them will have any technical difficulties. If there is a time to check the internet connections and test if all the participants can upload files it’s best to do so before the real meeting.

This is also your chance to check how well you’re familiar with features of the platform so you can avoid running into any problems. Just remember that Texas attorney who had a cat filter on during a Zoom hearing, and imagine yourself having to explain to a judge that you’re not a cat.

Pro tip: Check the lighting and the background – we recommend facing away from the window so you can use that natural light to your advantage.

3. Ask to have the deposition recorded

One of the major advantages of remote depositions is that they’re easy to capture since they’re already being done online.

A video can come in useful in the future. For instance, something unexpected can always occur during the deposition. More importantly your witness deponent might not be available during trial, thus making this video recording invaluable. 

Make sure to notify the court reporting service prior to the start that you wish the deposition to be recorded.

4. Instruct your deponent on how to avoid outside interference

Potential outside interference is always a major concern during remote legal proceedings. That’s why we suggest when instructing your deponent on the deposition rule, you also instruct them on how to avoid outside interference. 

Instruct them to be alone in the room during the deposition and ask them to let you know if anyone else comes into the room at any time. Furthermore, direct them not to not look at anything else other than the screen of their device and inform them they are strictly prohibited from talking to anyone else but you while they’re on the record.

If they cannot answer any of your questions by themselves, they should inform you of that fact instead of looking at anything or anyone else for help.

5. Close any other software

When the deposition starts you should only keep Zoom open. Close everything else, including your browser. 

This not only helps you save RAM (especially if you’re using Chrome) but it will also help you avoid displaying anything confidential to other participants. Imagine everyone seeing your confidential emails or the deposition outline you prepared – not a pleasant experience, right?

Zoom deposition notice for the win!

While there are issues with remote depositions, mainly revolving around the lack of personal interactions while talking to participants, the positives outweigh the negatives by a large margin.

Despite the growing pains of virtual legal proceedings, your virtual deposition won’t be that different than the real thing. However, first you need to do your homework in outlining all the details in your Zoom deposition notice and troubleshoot technical issues in advance.

Complex litigation and high-profile cases will continue in the physical courtroom, but for more simple cases, the convenience of remote legal proceedings ensures that they are here to stay.