With the rise of digital video platforms, attorneys can now rely on remote streaming to conduct depositions without the need to go through time-consuming commutes. The onset of the coronavirus pandemic led to disruptions across the world. Almost overnight, individuals and companies had to pivot to digital operations to deal with the government-implemented lockdowns and social distancing.
In the legal world, attorneys have long relied on face-to-face interactions to depose witnesses. However, given these new restrictions, lawyers had to find new ways to take care of litigation matters while also complying with the law.
What Are Remote Streaming Depositions?
By definition, a deposition refers to a “formal, recorded, question and answer session which occurs when the witness is under oath.” This is used to serve a few purposes, mainly to find out any information that witnesses may have and preserve testimonies for use in court or at trial.
Before the pandemic, depositions take place within in-person meetings. Remote streaming depositions are traditionally only used when witnesses and attorneys are based in separate locations, or are perhaps unable to attend physical meetings, such as due to physical disability.
However, when this came to a halt, the rise of remote streaming depositions began. Thus, parties had to turn to alternate solutions to conduct these sessions. Remote depositions would happen on video platforms that allowed both parties to communicate past geographical locations. This is also referred to as remote depositions, remote video depositions, or virtual depositions.
The Benefits of Remote Streaming Depositions
While this wasn’t considered as a viable option pre-pandemic, given the convenience of physical interactions, remote streaming depositions grew to be at the forefront of the legal industry during the pandemic. In fact, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) found that remote depositions accounted for over 90% of the depositions during the height of the COVID-19 outbreak.
So what does remote depositions have that in-person interactions don’t? We share the benefits of remote depositions for attorneys today.
Benefits of Remote Streaming Depositions
Cuts down cumbersome processes
One of the benefits of remote meetings is that it cuts down on time-consuming processes. For starters, physical meetings would require attorneys to take time to travel to a particular location. This could mean airline bookings, accommodation, car bookings or a significant time that required hours of travel. With the advent of remote meetings, attorneys can conduct depositions without having to go through the trouble. With lesser concerns regarding travelling time, attorneys are able to focus more on their clients.
Increasing accessibility to all participants
Across the globe, 15% of people live with some form of disability. Paired with the rise of social distancing, this poses a significant challenge to accessibility when it comes to depositions. By bringing it to the virtual world, more parties can take part in the legal process without going through physical barriers.
Video platforms can also enable easier content, such as easy reading, audio, and screen reader compatibility. This way, attorneys are able to connect with their clients and relevant parties within a shorter turnover and receive more information as and when they require it.
Transcends geographical boundaries
Legal processes are often complicated and involve more than one party. As such, it can be taxing for an appointed attorney to source, interview and record their findings to back up arguments or find relevant acts. Virtual meetings provide a scalable solution to lawyers with packed schedules and a large client portfolio. All witnesses need is a working Internet connection.
Why Your Firm Needs Remote Streaming Depositions Today
In today’s data-driven world, data is transmitted at exponential levels every day. With this, it can be challenging for organizations to keep up with new developments and information. However, the tools that lawyers use may not adequately address remote proceedings in order to successfully mimic the real thing.
Court reporting is traditionally done by manually recording, being notary, and conducting stenography. As industries face digital transformation at quantum speed, this method could be considered outdated.
Now, attorneys and firms are realizing that they need digital or electronic court reporters. Despite a dire need to automate processes, the world of law is slow to change. Cutting-edge technology continues to be used by a very small number of firms, and they’d rather treat digital platforms as a stopgap within the pandemic.
Like their counterparts in largely conservative markets, such as finance, this aversion to tech could be due to several reasons. For one thing, it’s not the norm. Or firms and attorneys simply cannot see much value in making the big shift.
Perhaps lawyers tend to be more risk-averse – a study revealed that 35% of attorneys listed the accuracy of digital tools as the reason for the lack of adoption. Of course, these concerns are not unfounded. When it comes to digital adoption, one of the main roadblocks, across most organizations, is that people think that it’s not worth it.
If anything, the pandemic served as a wake-up call for law firms to be prepared in case of emergency or unexpected situations. Last year, almost immediately, all in-person meetings ground to a halt. Companies were forced to provide services in a remote setting to ensure business continuity. However, one major challenge was that the tools available did not sufficiently address the issues that came with remote meetings.
Zoom rose to the top of the market at the height of the pandemic, being one of the choices for video interactions with multiple parties. However, video conferencing platforms may not be the best fit when it comes to capturing legal proceedings.
Exhibit sharing – where witnesses or attorneys bring articles to the record or to show to participants of the deposition – was still done outside of the usual video conferencing. Not to mention, attorneys had to worry about managing private information, sharing screens, and still dealing with a stenographic reporter. Surely more can be done to ensure that the legal industry has the support for an accurate and reliable process.
Conducting Efficient Remote Depositions
During the pandemic, there was an urgent need in the market to properly utilize and manage digital tools. More than that, there needed to be a dedicated tool for attorneys and law firms to successfully pivot to digital models without hassle.
There were platforms that provided audio, video or standalone exhibit management tools as a way to create locally-shared experiences. Such purpose-built tools would lead to more efficient processes in the shift to remote models. However, one main challenge in adoption remained: there was a lack of stability and ease of access.
In order to join these platforms, attorneys had to build their accounts upfront. However, given time limitations, lawyers often jump into the deposition immediately, only to find that the links didn’t set up right, or there were issues with the technology.
But not all platforms are created the same. Remote Legal was built to address the frustrations and challenges with the remote streaming depositions in the market. This is a legal-first technological platform for legal procedures such as depositions, arbitrations and mediations. To drive efficiency, the platform’s scheduling capabilities, case management, i-deposition and AI-powered features enable lawyers to leverage on powerful technology to run their activities.
The platform focuses on three experiences: (1) pre-deposition – scheduling, preparation, exhibits upload prior to meeting, and accessibility, (2) deposition experience – capturing of video, audio-only AI transcription, private exhibit management and group sharing and (3) post-deposition – downloadable exhibits, summary, transcript and video accessibility and searchability. Together, these experiences work to create an optimized legal proceeding for attorneys to conduct accurate depositions.
One issue that we see among many attorneys we work with is that the cost of onboarding new technologies is often passed on to the clients. In turn, the clients may not necessarily want to take on these extra legal fees. So, the cost-benefit opportunity is lost on many attorneys.
When it comes to the end-consumer, however, this could equate to a substantial amount of money in their budget. To address this, we believe in price as a differentiator. Everything on record is included in an hourly fee. Traditionally, court reporting would charge by page, video, transcription, rough drafts. When piled up, these could lead to astronomical costs that are then taken on by the client. On Remote Legal, everything is included including the certified transcript, and most of the work product is available as soon as the deposition ends.
As the legal system takes on new challenges such as the remote working phenomenon, it is up to law firms and attorneys to adapt in order to stay competitive. Remote Legal aims to bring value to partners through three aspects: consolidation, convenience and timeliness. Our tech-enabled reporters make it easy to conduct remote depositions and manage exhibits without having to be a tech expert. Find out more about our end-to-end solutions and schedule a demo today.