Remote depositions have become increasingly common over the past few years. But many litigators have struggled to achieve time and cost savings by taking depositions remotely. The convenience of being able to examine a witness from the comfort of your office, no travel required, has been offset by a raft of new challenges stemming from the limitations of generic video conferencing platforms like Zoom or Google Meet.
Innovations in legal technology, however, have begun to shift the paradigm. Purpose-built remote court reporting software solves the challenges litigators have encountered, saving them time and money in the process. Here’s how.
Past Barriers to Saving Time and Money
Most lawyers have had the option to take depositions remotely via video conference for more than a decade. But the use of remote depositions exploded, by necessity, with the arrival of Covid-19 and all the life and work disruptions the pandemic caused. Litigators who had depositions to take turned to Zoom and similar platforms by default and made do as best they could.
It wasn’t pretty. Generic video conferencing platforms offered us a lifeline during lockdown, but they weren’t (and still aren’t) particularly well-suited to the demands of taking sworn testimony. Lawyers quickly ran into myriad difficulties trying to replicate the in-person deposition experience via streaming video. To wit:
- The “herding cats” problem of coordinating multiple participants, each of whom needed a quiet and secure location, a reliable connection, adequate computer, video, and audio hardware, and a modicum of technological proficiency, in order to participate;
- Finding a court reporter comfortable with and proficient at taking remote testimony;
- Arranging for videography that would meet the minimum standard of quality needed to use in court;
- Figuring out how to mark, share, and consult exhibits, without unduly interrupting the flow of questioning;
- Dealing with video lags, audio dropouts, and countless other technological glitches that can disrupt or end a session;
- Facilitating communications between attorneys and their clients without having to disconnect from a platform;
- Ensuring the accuracy and completeness of a transcript in light of the challenges above.
And that’s hardly a complete list, as anyone who has waded through pandemic-era remote depositions knows. Each of these and similar problems required time and money to solve, making any convenience or efficiency gained from not having to travel to a deposition purely notional. Lawyers were just exchanging one set of headaches for another.
How Remote Court Reporting Software Unlocks Time and Cost Savings
Crisis, however, provides fertile soil for innovation. The frustrations and inefficiencies of taking remote depositions over one-size-fits-all video platforms spurred entrepreneurial court reporters to find ways to meet the needs of time- and cost-sensitive litigators. From their efforts sprung remote court reporting software aimed at delivering—finally—on the promise of efficient and effective remote depositions.
Developers of remote court reporting software created platforms specifically designed to facilitate scheduling, administering, taking, and transcribing remote testimony. Many features of industry-leading remote deposition solutions eliminate the barriers to time and cost savings that previously bedeviled litigators.
An All-in-One Approach
Unlike generic video conference platforms, remote court reporting software facilitates all aspects of taking remote testimony—and not simply the streaming video part. Built with busy litigators in mind, the software aims to make every step of the remote deposition process, from scheduling at the front end to the transcript and video delivery at the back, as easy, intuitive, and cost-effective as possible.
It saves lawyers and their staff from having to mix and match different platforms, media formats, and service providers. Everything they need to conduct a remote deposition comes in a single-source solution.
Remote court reporting software simplifies scheduling by connecting litigators with court reporters who have the experience, technical proficiency, and requisite credentialsto administer and accurately transcribe a remote deposition.
The software also resolves the question of how best to record deposition videos by offering quality videography services, built into the platform. It facilitates coordination among lawyers and witnesses by eliminating some of the stress and user anxiety inherent in using generic platforms and ad hoc procedures to conduct a deposition remotely.
Streamlined Exhibit Management
Exhibit management—encompassing how exhibits will be shared, marked, accessed, and shown to witnesses—is a frequent bugbear of remote depositions conducted over generic video platforms. In an in-person deposition, you bring a file folder of exhibits with you, have a reporter mark them, and hand copies to the witness and opposing counsel as you get to them in your questioning.
But in a remote session over Zoom or a similar platform, those simple tasks morph into an elaborate, slow, error-prone process. Following recommended best practices for exhibit management can consume hours of deposition preparation time and repeatedly disrupt proceedings.
Remote court reporting software solves many of those problems by centralizing and streamlining exhibit management. It gives litigators tools for pre-uploading exhibits, uploading exhibits on the fly, and sharing exhibits in real time with a witness or opposing counsel. It serves as the platform on which all participants view and manipulate exhibits. And it makes marking exhibits quick and easy.
There’s no need to agree on byzantine procedures for emailing documents or sharing links to third-party cloud storage accounts. Gone are the worries about whether the witness is looking at the same document you’re asking about. Instead, by implementing remote court reporting software, exhibit management becomes nearly as simple, intuitive, and uniform as handing a sheet of paper to a witness across a conference table.
Quick, Flexible, and Accurate Transcription Services
Transcription speed and accuracy declined when nearly all depositions went remote at the start of the pandemic. Technical issues bore much of the blame. Court reporters had their work cut out for them, contending with video lags, audio glitches, and platforms that muted participants unpredictably. Getting an accurate transcript when lawyers or witnesses talked over each other, or even in rapid succession, became nearly impossible. All of these challenges slowed turnaround times, increased error rates, and inflated costs.
Using remote court reporting software alleviates those difficulties. The right platform employs sophisticated voice-to-text technology that generates transcripts and clear audio/video recordings in real-time. Court reporters using the software can deliver a rough draft to counsel shortly aftera deposition ends. Official transcripts come faster too because court reporters have an accurate audio/video record to consult. And litigators can order a range of products seamlessly, including a video with overlaid text suitable for use as a courtroom exhibit.
It’s Finally Possible to Save Time and Money with Remote Depositions
When it comes to remote depositions, litigators and court reporters alike have climbed a steep learning curve over the past few years. Now they can finally start reaping the rewards. Remote court reporting software incorporates the lessons learned and best practices developed during the pandemic era, delivering on the promise that lawyers truly can save time and money by taking depositions remotely.
Remote Legal is an industry-leading developer of remote court reporting software and a provider of remote deposition services nationwide. Contact us today for a demo of our software and to see how using it can save you time and money when you take your next remote deposition.
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